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Study on Subsea Cable Lifecycle Published

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and The Crown Estate have published a report on the performance of subsea cabling in high energy environments to support the development of commercial wave and tidal energy sites.

The key aim of the Sub-sea Cable Lifecycle Study is to improve the industry’s understanding of how best to specify and manage subsea cables for wave and tidal energy projects, by investigating how the cables installed at the EMEC test sites in Orkney have been performing since installation.

The report, available to download from The Crown Estate’s website, provides a summary of the review to inform the marine renewable energy industry on factors affecting the integrity and performance of sub-sea cables.

With its first cables installed over 10 years ago, EMEC has collected considerable amounts of data with numerous routine remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and inshore dive surveys undertaken to examine structural integrity, alongside comprehensive electrical cable testing.

During the study, this data was reviewed in relation to installation methods, faults, and operational life of the cables. The study found that the sub-sea cables installed at the EMEC test sites appear to be in extremely good condition considering the environment in which they are deployed.

Matthew Finn, Senior Business Development Manager explains: “EMEC has built up a colossal amount of data since we set up the test centre 12 years ago. As well as supporting our own operations, and those of our developer clients, we’re delighted to see our data put to use across other projects that will support the development of the nascent marine renewables industry.

“The strong tidal conditions at our tidal test site – up to 8 knots at peak tide – provide a unique opportunity for people looking to test components, equipment, devices and supporting infrastructure in real sea conditions. We want our infrastructure to be put to good use, and would like to see the cables utilised in supporting other technology testing and demonstration projects in the future as well.”

The report concludes that in sites with high tidal flow the greatest risk to sub-sea cables is the effect of cable strumming – vibration caused by the flow of water past the cable.

Key recommendations to developers of wave and tidal energy projects include: carrying out calculations to assess the risk of strumming at an early stage; completing detailed site surveys and optimising the cable route to avoid key risks; and protecting the cables with armouring in high energy environments.

The Sub-sea Cable Lifecycle Study report is freely available on The Crown Estate’s website: Sub-sea Cable Lifecycle Study

ABB Wins Cable System Order for One of the World’s Biggest Wind Farms

$130 million order for the Walney Extension Wind Farm off the coast of England, which will be one of the biggest in the world, generating 660 megawatts (MW).

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth around $130 million from DONG Energy, the Danish integrated energy company, to supply a high-voltage cable system that will bring power from the Walney Extension wind park off the northwest coast of England to more than a million people in the United Kingdom.

The Walney Extension will provide additional generation potential of 660 MW on top of the existing offshore wind farm’s 367 MW. When completed, both offshore wind farms will be capable of providing clean electricity to over 800,000 households, making a significant contribution to the UK’s target of achieving 15 percent of its total energy production from renewable sources by 2020 and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“The Walney Extension cable link will help deliver clean renewable power to more than a million people,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. "This project reaffirms ABB’s commitment to delivering power and productivity for a better world and reinforces our position as a leading provider of innovative high-voltage cable technology."

Europe now has around 8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power connected to the grid. UK is the leading contributor, accounting for nearly half the installed capacity and a further 11.9 GW of offshore capacity under construction or having planning approval.

The existing Walney offshore wind farm is located 15 kilometers west of Walney Island off the coast of Cumbria in the Irish Sea, with its turbines covering an area of approximately 73 square kilometers. The Walney Extension Wind Farm site where ABB is supplying the high-voltage cable system is northwest of the existing installation and will cover an area twice as large at 149 square kilometers. Walney will be one of Europe’s biggest wind farms when the new extension is ready.

ABB will design, manufacture, supply and commission the 220 kilovolt (kV) alternating current (AC) extruded cable system. The link includes more than 157 kilometers of submarine cable to connect the two wind farm platforms to each other and to shore, as well as 24 kilometers of underground cable for the grid connection.

Cable links play a key role in transmitting vast amounts of electricity reliably and efficiently, often over long distances. With experience dating back to 1883, ABB is a global leader in high-voltage cable systems with an installed base across applications such as integration of renewables, city center infeeds, oil and gas platform power supplies and subsea interconnections. ABB has commissioned more than 25 direct-current (DC) and hundreds of AC cable links around the world.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 140,000 people.

MTN Launches the First Live High-Definition TV (HDTV) at Sea

MTN Communications (MTN) announces another maritime industry first with the launch of its high-definition live television service at sea, MTN Worldwide TV HD (MTN-TV HD).

“MTN-TV HD delivers an amazing viewing experience onboard,” said Graham Douglas, media and communications manager, P&O Cruises and Cunard. “We can now experience TV at sea like we can at home. As we transformed the technology and ambience in our common areas, theaters and cabins, we evolved from small to large screens, so our requirement for HD became paramount. We are so pleased with the service that we just used it on all our ships to broadcast the naming ceremony for our new build, Britannia.”

This service launch starts with IMG’s Sport 24 Channel in HD. The first-ever 24/7 sports channel designed for the maritime market, it is the most watched sports channel onboard MTN-TV customer vessels. Its 2015 line-up includes Premier League Soccer, Formula 1™, U.S. Open Tennis, Wimbledon, the Masters, and Bundesliga Soccer delivered in HD to vessels around the world.

MTN-TV HD is available to the maritime market only through MTN. This is because the company manages and optimizes its network with some of the industry’s most sophisticated propriety tools. This new service enhances the broadcast quality of all the other MTN-TV channels, as well. In an effort to stay ahead of customer needs, MTN constantly is transforming its infrastructure to deliver the industry’s highest quality of service. The company has plans for further MTN-TV technology investments, particularly nearing the roll-out of the MTN High-Throughput Multi Spot Beam (MTN HTMS™) service next year.

Around the world, 137 ships subscribe to MTN-TV. The service broadcasts 11 channels of news, sports, entertainment and special events.

In service five years this month, MTN-TV has broadcast 1,743 live special events, totaling 5,236 hours of major sporting events, awards shows, operas and ship-specific gatherings. MTN-TV HD is a turnkey solution for MTN partners, as well as vessel operators just using this particular service.

“We are proud to be the trusted provider of the world’s first global HD TV at sea,” said Bill Witiak, general manager, TV and Broadcast Services, MTN. “Delivering unmatched, live content at sea significantly improves the experience our partners can provide. It adds value to crew welfare initiatives and enhances opportunities for vessels to utilize television for operational and marketing requirements.”

Arianespace Wins SES-15 Launch Contract

New contract confirms Arianespace's long-term partnership with SES, after the SES-12 contract announced in January

SES has chosen Arianespace to launch its new, all-electric telecommunications satellite, SES-15. The launch service contract was signed by Karim Michel Sabbagh, Chairman and CEO of SES, and Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, and marks Arianespace's 41st contract with SES.

The contract signing ceremony was held at SES headquarters in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. It was attended by French President François Hollande, His Royal Highness Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

SES-15 will be launched by an Ariane 5 during the second quarter of 2017 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Arianespace and SES have developed an exceptional partnership that reaches back more than 25 years. SES-15 marks the 41st launch contract signed by Arianespace with the SES group (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg bourse: SESG). SES-15 is also the second SES satellite with all-electric propulsion to call on an Arianespace launch, following SES- 12 in January 2015.

Weighing 2,300 kg at launch, SES-15 will be located at 129° West, a new orbital position enabling SES to provide services to North America. SES-15 will carry a hybrid payload, with additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku- band as well as Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability. The satellite will be equipped with an electric propulsion system for orbit raising and in-orbit maneuvers. Offering a design life of 15 years, this multi-application satellite will also provide extended capacity and coverage over the main airline routes across the continent, as well as other traffic intensive data applications, such as governments, VSAT networks and the maritime sector.

Following the contract signature, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: "SES has chosen Arianespace for the second time since the beginning of the year to launch one of its satellites. These contracts include both fleet renewal, with the SES-12, and fleet expansion, with the SES-15. These two all-electric satellites, the first in the SES fleet, confirm the technology trend now shaping the telecom satellite sector. SES's continued trust in Arianespace also shows that Ariane 5 addresses the resulting requirements. I would like to personally thank SES for reenergizing our long-standing partnership, reaching back over a quarter of a century, with this 41st contract between our companies. We are especially proud to be able to announce this contract in a ceremony attended by the French and Luxembourg highest authorities."

Van Oord’s Cable-laying Vessel Nexus Operational

Van Oord will deploy the Nexus, its first cable-laying vessel for constructing offshore wind parks, with a two-day event on the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam. Van Oord will deploy the Nexus, its first cable-laying vessel for constructing offshore wind parks, with a two-day event on the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam. Students and business contacts will be given a tour of the vessel on Friday, 6 March. On Saturday, 7 March, the vessel will be christened by Ms J. Damen-Carli, the wife of Mr K. Damen, member of the supervisory board at Van Oord and chairman of Damen Shipyards Group, in the presence of Van Oord’s guests and employees.

The vessel was built by Damen Shipyards Group at its shipyard in Galati, Romania. The modern vessel is nearly 123 metres long and more than 27 metres in the beam. The Nexus has been equipped with a cable carrousel with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes to install long export cables. The deck layout is the result of in-house engineering and development in anticipation of future market requirements for challenging cable installation works. There are accommodations for 90 people on board. Nexus is the Latin word for connection; a suitable name for a ship that will connect offshore wind turbines with each other and to the mainland.

The first project for the Nexus will be the Gemini offshore wind park that will be built 85 kilometres off the coast of Groningen. The construction phase has started and will be fully operational in 2017. The 600 MW wind park will consist of 150 wind turbines with a capacity of 4 MW each. After construction, the park will deliver electricity to more than 1.5 million people. Van Oord is involved in the Gemini project in two ways. First, as a 10% shareholder in the project, and second as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor that will build the wind park. The EPC contract encompasses supplying and installing the foundations, the entire electrical infrastructure, including the offshore and onshore high voltage stations, the cables, and the installation of the Siemens wind turbines. Van Oord will be deploying several vessels, including the specially developed offshore installation vessel Aeolus and the cable-laying vessel Nexus, for the construction of the wind park.

Van Oord’s strategy is to further expand its role as an EPC contractor for the construction of offshore wind parks. To that end, Van Oord is investing in specialised vessels and recently acquired Ballast Nedam Offshore’s equipment and operations.

Pieter van Oord, CEO: ‘The Nexus is tangible proof of the strength of the Dutch maritime cluster. The ship was built on the order of a Dutch ship owner, at a shipyard owned by a Dutch company, to be used to build the largest Dutch offshore wind park that will contribute significantly to the implementation of the Dutch Energy Agreement.’ 

SpeedCast Announces the Acquisition of Geolink Satellite Services and Further Expansion in Africa

SpeedCast International Limited (“SpeedCast”), a leading global satellite communications service provider, today announced the acquisition of Geolink Satellite Services, a leading provider of satellite communications solutions in the African region, and part of the CETel Group. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition will strengthen SpeedCast’s fast growing services for the energy and maritime sectors, enhance its portfolio of mobile satellite solutions, and bolster its capabilities in the African region.

Geolink Satellite Services (“Geolink”) is a leading provider of satellite solutions in the African market and has strong positions in the maritime industry. The company services customer requirements in over 20 African countries, with key customers in the oil & gas, mining, media, NGO and maritime sectors. Geolink specializes in mobile satellite solutions, as well as fixed VSAT solutions, in the increasingly important African market. The company also has experience providing services to the media industry in Europe. Geolink is based in Paris, France and works with a network of technical partners throughout Africa, in addition to the company's own field engineering team, for the support of its solutions.

With this acquisition, SpeedCast significantly enhances its capabilities to serve and support its customers in the African market, a key area of operations for the energy sector. The acquisition will benefit SpeedCast’s existing customer base, as SpeedCast is experiencing a growing number of requests for services in Africa from its Asia-Pacific customers. Further, the African continent continues to be a growth spot for VSAT services and therefore represents a new potential source of growth for SpeedCast. Last but not least the Geolink acquisition adds to SpeedCast's growing leadership in providing services to the maritime sector.

“With the Geolink acquisition, SpeedCast expands its presence and its capabilities in the African market,” said Pierre-Jean Beylier, CEO of SpeedCast. “Geolink uniquely complements SpeedCast’s business with great strength in mobile satellite services, extensive experience in and satellite coverage over Africa, and strong customer base in the energy and maritime sectors. There are interesting synergies between the two companies, which will further enhance our ability to deliver complete end-to-end solutions to our respective customers globally.”

Joining SpeedCast, Geolink will now be able to offer its customers a wider portfolio of products and services and better serve its customers’ needs worldwide. SpeedCast will partner with Geolink’s experienced management team and staff to continue to deliver best-in-class services to Geolink’s customers, while enhancing SpeedCast’s own expertise. Geolink will further complement and extend SpeedCast’s global network in the strategic African market.

“We look forward to joining SpeedCast, a leader in satellite communications services,” said Christophe Pacilly, CEO of Geolink. “With SpeedCast’s experience and infrastructure, we believe that Geolink will have the opportunity to drive further growth and even better meet the needs of our customers in the oil & gas, maritime, NGO, media and government verticals.” Geolink's management team will remain with the SpeedCast group.

The acquisition follows SpeedCast’s successful acquisitions of two established satellite industry players, SatComms Australia and Oceanic Broadband, in the Australasia region in the past 12 months.

KVH Introduces Enhanced VoIP Service for mini-VSAT Broadband Network

A new dedicated voice channel provides quality VoIP calls independent of broadband usage on the vessel

KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) has rolled out a new dedicated voice configuration for its mini-VSAT Broadbandsm global maritime satellite network to ensure customers always experience high-quality phone calls. The network’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service is now delivered on a prioritized and protected data stream, separate from the network’s overall broadband data traffic. VoIP service is also prioritized onboard the vessel for quality VoIP service even during times of heaviest broadband data use.

By prioritizing phone service, this enhancement is designed to maintain the crystal-clear sound quality of mini-VSAT Broadband’s VoIP service while also addressing the challenge that ship owners face in meeting increased onboard data usage. Maritime operators rely on broadband connectivity for everything from accessing email to utilizing web-based applications for better voyage planning, fuel optimization, and remote systems monitoring. At the same time, vessels experience demand for VoIP services around the clock by crew and officers, given the 24/7/365 nature of commercial vessel operations.

“With this enhancement, mini-VSAT Broadband users enjoy extremely high-quality VoIP service even during heavy data network use,” says Marc Edwards, KVH’s network operations director. “We rolled out this updated configuration to all service beams on the network, and the feedback indicates the quality of our voice service to be exceptionally good.”

VoIP, which utilizes an Internet connection to transmit voice signals, is the primary method for vessels to conduct phone calls from sea. The mini-VSAT Broadband network utilizes spread spectrum technology, which enables low latency and contention, both factors contributing to the high voice quality of KVH’s VoIP service. A telephony measurement known as mean opinion score (MOS) quantifies the voice quality of phone transmissions on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 as best. A score of 3.4 is considered good for a satellite phone call, yet mini-VSAT Broadband VoIP calls measure up to 3.75, which is the same as a land-based VoIP call. In addition, KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network uses 32 kbps for the dedicated voice channel, which is much higher than typical satellite phones.

The mini-VSAT Broadband network provides broadband connectivity to commercial vessels and recreational yachts around the world, and is the market share leader in maritime VSAT, according to a 2014 report by industry analyst Euroconsult. KVH also designs and manufactures the TracPhone® V-IP series of satellite communications antenna systems for use with the mini-VSAT Broadband network.

Prysmian Secures 60M€ Contract for a New Submarine Power Cable Project

Full offshore wind farm inter-array turnkey supply for the groupPrysmian Group, world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, has been awarded a contract by Iberdrola Renovables Offshore Deutschland GmbH - German subsidiary dedicated to offshore wind activities of the world-leading wind farm developer and operator Iberdrola - worth a total of around Euro 60 million to supply and install wind turbine inter array cables for the Wikinger offshore wind farm, located within the West of Adlergrund cluster in the German Baltic Sea. In May 2014 Prysmian Group already announced award of a contract with 50Hertz Offshore GmbH to design, produce and install multiple 220 kV HVAC (High Voltage Alternate Current) 3-core extruded submarine cable systems between planned offshore wind parks within the West of Adlergrund cluster. Under the Wikinger contract, Prysmian is responsible for the design, manufacture, installation, burial, termination and testing of total 81 km of 33 kV submarine cables in different cross-sections to connect the 70 wind turbines and an offshore substation that form the 350 MW wind farm. Cables will be produced in Prysmian’s facility in Drammen, Norway, one of the Group’s excellence centres for submarine cables. Installation works are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

This new project is a full inter-array “turnkey” supply and installation contract, which re-affirms the Group's full expertise in offshore wind farm connections and an extended ability to execute complex installation solutions in this field in order to support the demands of this growing industry. Over the years Prysmian has moved ahead with major investments in new and upgraded assets, broadening the range of offered products, services and capabilities in order to be fully equipped to face the many challenges coming from the offshore wind power market in a timely manner. The Group's investment programmes have been aimed at expanding production capabilities, at multiplying the use of innovative technologies and at strengthening execution capabilities with conversion of a dumb barge to self-propelled DP2 vessel able to operate in very shallow waters. Prysmian, now, can rely on three production facilities dedicated to submarine cables, situated in Arco Felice (near Naples, Italy), Pikkala (Finland) and Drammen (Oslo, Norway); two installation vessels, Giulio Verne and Cable Enterprise (close to be leaving docks after extensive upgrade works), as well as well-proven in-house cable protection equipment, and specialised operations teams. With such an extended footprint, the Group is able to serve the market as trusted and dedicated partner for the interconnection of offshore wind parks to mainland grids with a full offer of products ranging from medium voltage inter-array cables, to HVAC and HVDC export cables and turn-key EPC installation services. Within its portfolio, Prysmian holds already an ever-increasing track record of offshore wind power connections, with projects either completed or on-going in Denmark, Holland and the UK as well as the HVDC connections to shore in Germany for the BorWin2, BorWin3, HelWin1, HelWin2, DolWin3 and SylWin1 mega wind farm hubs, forming part of the most important programme for the development of renewable energy in Europe.

Fugro Launches G4 Satellite Positioning Augmentation Service

Fugro has further extended its technology leadership in the field of GNSS augmentation systems for offshore positioning applications with the launch of its G4 service. The new satellite correction service is the first to take advantage of all four GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems): GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo. GNSS augmentation services significantly improve position accuracy compared to unaided GNSS receivers, which are commonly used in the consumer sector.

By using all available GNSS satellites, Fugro’s G4 service is designed to improve availability and reliability of offshore positioning and will thus enhance the safety and productivity of a wide range of survey and other activities offshore. G4 represents a significant advancement compared to augmentation systems which are based on GPS only or GPS combined with its Russian equivalent, GLONASS.

The BeiDou system operated by China currently provides coverage in the Asia-Pacific region. Fugro’s G4 service already utilises the first BeiDou satellites and is ready to start using the Galileo satellites as soon the EU announces Initial Operational Capability (IOC) status for this system. Galileo and future BeiDou satellites will be automatically included as they come online, steadily increasing availability and robustness of this integrated augmentation service.

The new G4 service will be particularly beneficial when the line-of-sight to certain satellites is obstructed by offshore structures - a key consideration during critical positioning operations. The G4 augmentation signals, transmitted via seven high–powered communication satellites to provide at least two independent broadcast channels anywhere in the world, will offer Fugro’s customers unrivalled coverage and availability.

NordLink HVDC interconnector between Norway and Germany will use Nexans’ subsea power cables

First ever power interconnector between Norway and Germany will be Nexans’ largest subsea power cable contract to date in terms of length and value Contract value is approximately 0.5 Bn Euros

The Norwegian and German power grids will be able to share green energy directly for the first time thanks to Nexans submarine HVDC (high voltage direct current) cables to be installed as part of the NordLink project. Nexans will design, manufacture and install two 525 kV cable subsystems, with a total length of more than 700 km, off the coast of Norway and Denmark. The project, Nexans’ largest of this type to date, is due for completion in 2019. The contract value is approximately 0.5 Bn Euros. 

The 1400 MW NordLink VSC (Voltage Source converter) HVDC project, a collaboration between Statnett, TenneT and the German promotional bank KfW, will connect the Norwegian and German electricity markets to exchange green energy. Surplus wind and solar power produced in Germany can be exported to Norway. Conversely, hydroelectric power from Norway can be exported to Germany. This will be an important contribution to the future development of climate-friendly energy.

Nexans will design, manufacture and install mass impregnated non-draining (MIND) HVDC cables at depths down to 450 metres off the coast of Norway and Denmark. The cables will be laid by Nexans’ own cable-laying vessel, C/S Nexans Skagerrak and protected on the seabed by trenching with Nexans’ Capjet system.

The Nexans power cables will feature the same reliable and well proven design implemented for the successfully completed installations of the Skagerrak 1, 2, 3 projects, and more recently the Skagerrak 4 project for the 140 km subsea HVDC interconnector between Denmark and Norway.

Dirk Steinbrink, Nexans Senior Executive Vice President High Voltage & Underwater Cables, said, “The NordLink project will be Nexans’ largest subsea power cable contract to date in terms of length and value and we look forward to continuing our close working relationship with TennetT, KfW and Statnett on this important project. The key to this success is our state of the art subsea cable technology combined with the proven capability to handle complete turnkey projects from design through to installation. We are excited to be involved in the Nord.Link which is a further step towards a complete integration of the European power grid. ”

Production of the cables will begin at Nexans’ Halden plant in Norway in 2016.

SES Executes on Growth Strategy with New Satellite Investment Programmes

SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) is executing on its pronounced growth strategy with the procurement of three new satellites, SES-14, SES-15 and SES-16/GovSat, all to be launched in 2017.

As announced on 16 February , SES has ordered three next-generation satellites, SES-14, SES-15 and SES-16/GovSat, the latter together with the Luxembourg Government in a new joint venture, LuxGovSat.

The satellites are using the newest spacecraft technologies, leading to optimal performance and highest efficiency and allowing SES to address the accelerating needs of fast growing markets where SES is already well positioned. The satellites will be manufactured by Airbus Space and Defence, Boeing and Orbital AKT, respectively. The new orders bring the total number of SES satellites currently under procurement to seven, out of which six are delivering incremental growth capacity.

"The new spacecraft will support our growth and add significant high-power capacity to all four key strategic business verticals - video, data, mobility and government," said Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO of SES. "These fleet investments - all delivered within SES's forecast CapEx envelope - enable us to differentiate our service offering in our target markets and set the foundation for continued growth. They will allow us to capture the significant potential of numerous vibrant regions and market segments, including Direct-to-Home (DTH) in Latin America, and mobility in the aeronautical and maritime sector throughout the Americas and the North Atlantic, as well as powerful end-to-end solutions for governments, defence and security."

SES-14 and SES-15 are both powerful hybrid satellites, using Ku-, Ka- and – in the case of SES-14 – also C-band in wide-beam and high-throughput (HTS) technology and a purely electric propulsion system that significantly enhances the satellites’ economic efficiency thanks to the enhanced payload that can be carried as a result of the reduction in fuel mass.

SES-16/GovSat is a state-of-the-art multi-mission satellite with high-powered and fully steerable beams for government missions. It will be owned and operated by LuxGovSat, a new joint venture between SES and the Luxembourg Government.

"These fleet investments augment our capacity to address the high demand for connectivity in several key regions and segments,“ continued Karim Michel Sabbagh. "They allow us to launch a full range of attractive offers for video distribution and platforms, and data, mobility and government services, with a focus on SES’s large and world-leading customers in the aeronautical and maritime sectors. They underscore our confidence in the high demand and growth potential in both emerging and mature markets and provide the basis for the creation of a truly unique combination of our geostationary fleet (GEO) with the medium earth orbit (MEO) fleet of O3b, in which we hold a 45 percent stake.“

First of new series ASD Tug 2913 delivered to Petersen & Alpers

Damen Shipyards Group has delivered the first vessel in its new ASD Tug 2913 class. The 2913 has been developed in response to demand from operators for more powerful tugs capable of handling today’s ever larger vessels. As well as having a bollard pull of 80 tonnes and total power of 5,050 BKw, the new tug is just 29 metres in length and highly manoeuvrable, making it ideal for operations in busy harbours where space is limited.

The ASD 2913 has accommodation for 10 personnel across six cabins and with a beam of 13 metres is very stable. It also has push/pull capabilities and can be fitted with an aft winch as an option. It is also the first Damen tug to be built with a double hull so as to comply with the latest safety regulations. The launch customer for the new model is German towage specialist Petersen & Alpers, and she will join an existing Damen ASD Tug 2411, which the company has been operating for the last four years out of Hamburg.

Designed for in-port operations

Named the Michel, the ASD 2913 will also be working in and around Hamburg, which is made up of a series of small basins and narrow waterways. In such an environment and with modern trends towards larger vessels for greater efficiency, manoeuvrable, compact tugs with more power are needed today more than ever before. However the 2913 also has very good sea-keeping qualities, allowing here to undertake offshore operations when required.

“We are very happy to be working once again with Damen,” said Peter Lindenau, Managing Director of Petersen & Alpers. “We had built up trust on our last project, and the whole package worked well for us. It is not just price but also performance, service and maintenance.”

The contract was signed in February 2013 and, as the launch customer with over 200 years’ experience in shipping, Petersen & Alpers contributed a good deal of valuable input into the design by, for example specifying details such as an oil fired heating system. Over the next two years a great deal of effort went into designing, engineering and building a tug that would deliver to its owner’s expectations and beyond.

Before the first of the ASD Tug 2913 was even launched, Damen has received strong interest in the vessel and its capabilities, and work is already underway building more for delivery at short notice.

SSL built high throughput satellite for Telenor ready for launch, will ship to launch base later next week

Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that the THOR 7 satellite, designed and built for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc), is ready for launch and will ship to the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana later next week, for launch aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle by Arianespace. 

THOR 7 is a multi-mission satellite equipped with Telenor's first high performance Ka-band payload, designed to serve the maritime market. The HTS Ka-band payload on THOR 7, designed specifically for the mobility VSAT market, will provide cost-effective solutions and offer high powered coverage over the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the Red Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. The satellite also has a Ku-band payload for broadcast and television services in Central and Eastern Europe.

"SSL and Telenor Satellite Broadcasting share a commitment to providing satellites and services that improve the human experience," said John Celli, President of SSL. "We are pleased that THOR 7 is ready to ship and we look forward to working with TSBc and Arianespace on the final preparations for launch."

THOR 7 was designed with up to 25 simultaneously active Ka-band spot beams and a steerable beam for flexibility in meeting changing market requirements. Its Ku-band payload includes 11 transponders, which will enable expanded services in the region as well as back-up to ensure uninterrupted service.

"The satellite built by SSL will deliver a very bandwidth efficient and flexible service for major shipping routes and recreational vessels," said Morten Tengs, Vice President and CEO of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting. "With the launch of THOR 7, our growth satellite, we look forward to further extending our position in the market and expanding our European coverage."

THOR 7 is based on the highly reliable SSL 1300 platform, which provides high-power and the flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technology advances. When launched, THOR 7 will be positioned at 1 degree West longitude and is designed to provide service for 15 years or more.

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