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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

Cable Gear for Russia
by Jim Jones

Between 1962 and 1973 the Government of the USSR had six cableships built by Wartsila-koncernen A/B of Helsinki (and later Turku), Finland. The first was CS Ingul, with cable machinery supplied by SCL/Telcon, similar to that fitted in CS Alert (4). The other ships were named Jana, Tsna, Donets, Zeya, and Katunj. All the ships were of the same basic design, and Ron Fox confirms that all were fitted with cable machinery by SCL/Telcon.

The images on this page show the cable machinery being prepared for installation at the SCL/Telcon works in Greenwich. In the 1960s the Telcon cable hands went out to Russia to train the operators. Interestingly, when the men returned to London, they said that the Russians were not interested in learning about the cable. It's thought that they used the cable ship as a subterfuge to lay sonar units on the sea bed in the Mediterranean, connected by cable, to try and track US submarines.

In any event, the cable hands had a good time in Russia, having spent most of their time drinking!

One further image, provided from the Enderby Wharf Archive by Allan Green, Research Fellow, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, has the caption "On board Russian cableship, 1974". The large piece of equipment in this photograph, which appears to be connected as a repeater, is marked "3700KG", and may well be a piece of military gear.

Image courtesy of Allan Green, copyright
© 2007 Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno

Copyright © 2007 FTL Design

Last revised: 17 June, 2007

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Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: billb@ftldesign.com