Viewpoint

Helping ships to avoid anchoring, fishing and working over subsea cables that they already know are there, because the cables appear on their charts – that’s one part of the UltraMAP story. Helping ships to avoid anchoring, fishing and working over subsea cables that they don’t know are there, becau

UltraMAP’s flagship software, AssetMonitor and UltraMAP’s 24/7 monitoring services work hand-in-hand. Both are important. Because one supports the other. Then, on top of that, there are the ship’s own on-board navigation charts. Ships use their on-board navigation charts to avoid collision with the hazards and seabed assets there highlighted. All subsea cables should be marked on a vessel’s navigational charts, and new cables should be added as they are commissioned. But what if navigational charts are misread? And what if cables and other assets aren’t marked on the charts? Believe us, it does happen. A lot. It’s a dangerous scenario.

How Do We at UltraMAP Know That Some Cables and Assets Don’t Appear on a Vessel’s Own Navigational Charts?

As part of the global service UltraMAP provides, we communicate with those vessels close to our customer’s cables that are exhibiting potentially damaging behaviour. We calmly notify these vessels of their proximity to subsea cables using our own systems and software (AssetMonitor) showing the position of our customer’s cables. And it really is amazing how often the reply from the vessels we contact indicate that they have no knowledge of the cable at all. Or that they do know of it – but think they are a safe distance away. In their minds, it really can be a case of, ‘If it’s not on the chart… it’s not there.”
 
A Global Problem
 
Instances where cables, or parts of cables, are not marked on a vessel’s own navigational charts are not isolated to particular areas of the world. This is a global problem. It’s a problem we embrace at UltraMAP, though. For two reasons.
 
Reason One
 
First, the sole purpose that UltraMAP exists is to reduce the world’s cable strikes to zero. So, flagging uncharted assets and hazards to vessels threatening an UltraMAP customer’s assets is part of who we are. It is what we do. 
 
Reason Two
 
Second, we are – automatically – continually ‘recharting’ huge areas of the sea bed. Whenever we discover uncharted assets, we work with our customers and numerous charting authorities to have all navigational charts and records updated.
It’s a challenge in some parts of the world where commercial entities are responsible for chart updates. But, of course, the interdependency of these two goals (stopping all strikes… and mapping all assets) brings us, and all UltraMAP clients, closer to what we all want – zero cable strikes. That’s just the way it is with any brand that is committed to, and serious about, assurance. Because in UltraMAP’s world, the ‘something’ we want to happen most… really is ‘nothing’.
 
The Future World of Telecoms – And the Future World of UltraMAP
 
As many of us are aware as we approach the end of 2021, new subsea cables connecting the world are being championed by global internet giants. When ‘Apricot’ comes online in 2024 it will link Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. This is another great example of how the world’s most significant brands continue to invest in subsea connectivity, and why UltraMAP is as committed as ever to helping ensure safe installation and uninterrupted ongoing services.
 
 
UltraMAP are a Bronze Sponsor at Submarine Networks EMEA 2021 running from the 1st-3rd September. If you are attending the event, you can meet UltraMAP at stand number 5. If you haven’t already booked your tickets to attend, you can do so here
 

 

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