The Malta-Sicily Interconnector, which suffered extensive damage in December, resulting in a nationwide powercut, is to be repaired at an estimated cost of €11 million, Enemalta said today.
In a statement, the Company said that the Interconnector repair programme commenced this week with the finalisation of the repairs contract with Nexans Norway, the mobilisation of all assets essential for the repair and the certification by Nexans of all spare parts and equipment.
Nexans Norway, the original equipment manufacturer of the high-voltage cable, was commissioned to carry out the submarine cable inspection survey to establish the location and the extent of the damage, as well as to formulate the plan of action to be undertaken to repair the cable.
Enemalta said that the survey ship MV Polar King was then commissioned to carry out the survey and determine the complicated and one-off nature of the repair, given the size of the cable itself and the depth at which the damage occurred.
The video footage of the survey provided reasonable evidence that the cable was damaged by an anchor, it said.
The Company went on to say that the vessel that is believed to have caused the damage has been identified, and the vessel’s protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance has been approached, and a letter of undertaking has been submitted .
The repair vessels will berth in Malta today to commence the loading of materials, equipment and specialists from Nexans and Enemalta, while on Sunday de-burial operation to uncover the cable will commence, the Company said.
It explained that one end at a time, the severed cable will be lifted up to the repair vessel, where it will be cut to remove the damaged cable length, jointed to one end of approximately 2km long spare cable, and lowered down back to the seabed. The same procedure will then be repeated with the other end of the severed cable.
The testing and subsequent energisation of the repaired cable is expected to take place by the 3rd week of March whereby, the Malta-Sicily Interconnector will be made available to be dispatched to deliver energy.
Enemalta explained that during the subsequent four weeks, the necessary cable protection and burial will take place while guard vessels will oversee this procedure.
“All dates indicated are subject to favourable weather conditions,” it said. Finally, the cable will be buried, and the commissioned naval assets demobilised.
Enemalta stated that the Interconnector is an important element of the energy mix for the supply of electricity for the Maltese Islands to ensure the security of supply and the economic production of electricity.
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