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

CS Sovereign
by Bill Glover


CS Sovereign when operated by BT Marine Ltd.

Built in1991 by Van de Giessen de Noord, Netherlands.

Length 127.3 m Breadth 21 m Depth 7 m Gross tonnage 11242

Built for BT Marine Ltd. as a cable layer/repair vessel. Fitted with four tanks with a total capacity of 2800 cubic metres or 6200 tonnes of fibre optic cable. Cable laying via a stern sheave 4 metres in diameter and a 40 tonne 4 metre diameter drum cable engine. Cable repair was undertaken via the bow sheaves and two 40 tonne 4 metre diameter drum cable engines.

When Cable & Wireless (Marine) Ltd. took over the BT cable fleet. ownership of CS Sovereign was assumed by BT Forty Ltd. C&W acted as managers and operators of the vessel. When Global Marine Ltd. took over the C&W cable fleet similar conditions applied.

CS Sovereign at the Global Marine Systems Depot,
Portland Harbour, Dorset
Photo © T.F. Watson 2004

The vessel's main duties are on Atlantic cable maintenance. Her home port is Portland, Dorset.

During a recent spell in dry dock, Sovereign had two, 2300 tonne, basket turntables fitted into two of its cable tanks. These are to enable the ship to lay non-coilable cables (power cables). The paying out rate of these turntables is 1000 metres per hour.


1992 SAT 2: Funchal, Madeira and El Medano, Tenerife - Melkbosstrand, South Africa
CS Vercors laid the cable from Melkbosstrand to the first branching unit; CS Sovereign laid the remainder
1995-6 TAT 12/13: USA - England - France - New York (With Nexus & Vercors)
1999 ESAT 2: Ainsdale Sands, England - Dublin, Ireland (Shore ends)
2006 Estlink: Helsinki, Finland - Talin, Estonia (Two power cables)
2008 BT LIBERTY: Guernsey - England
2008 NORTHERN LIGHTS: Dunnet Bay, Scotland - Skaill, Orkney Islands
2009 HANNIBAL: Kelibia, Tunisia - Mazara, Italy
2010 SG-SCS: Surinam - Guyana - Trinidad

Last revised: 23 September, 2011

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