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Mystery boat in Admiralty Inlet was a repair vessel

By NATHAN WHALEN
South Whidbey Record Whidbey News Times
December 28, 2013 · Updated 10:12 AM
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The Wave Venture powers through Admiralty Inlet to repair fiber optic cables. / Nathan Whalen / The Record

A large ship floating for more than a week near the Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry route this month piqued the curiosity of nearby residents.

It turns out the Wave Venture, a 464-foot vessel owned by United Kingdom-based Global Marine Systems, has been sailing in the area while its crew repairs fiber optic cables.

Raymond Loe, who lives in the Teronda West area on Central Whidbey, said he noticed the vessel about a week-and-a-half ago.

He said the ship sparked his curiosity as he and his wife would watch the Wave Venture and several smaller tugs work in the area day and night.

Anne Leboutillier, head of marketing for Global Marine Systems, said there are several reasons a break in a cable line can occur. Such breaks can be caused by a ship’s anchor, fishing trawlers or severe weather.

Eighty percent of cable faults are caused by fishing and shipping activities, according to information provided by Global Marine Systems. Remaining breaks are caused by natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, waves and sea currents.

Crews use remotely operated vehicles to search for and help locate breaks in the cable. They also cut the area of the cable to bring it back to the ship so repairs can be made, Leboutillier said.

The depth of Admiralty Inlet in the area where the work was done, the speed of the currents and tidal conditions posed problems for repair work, she added.

“It sounds likes it’s been a very challenging repair,” Leboutillier said.

Roe said the Wave Venture sailed from Admiralty Inlet on Thursday evening.

According to Leboutillier, 98 percent of the world’s communications is transmitted through fiber optic cables. That information includes financial and corporate information, social media and telephone calls.

Global Marine Services has a 160-year history of working with telecommunications, oil and gas and energy industries. The company manages a worldwide fleet of cable repair vessels.

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