Following incident, Nexans and Enemalta patch up subsea interconnector – gallery
French cable maker Nexans has worked with Enemalta, a Malta-based energy services provider, to finalise the repair works for the subsea Malta-Italy interconnector cable after it was damaged in a storm by a vessel anchor in March.
Over the past three weeks, Enemalta’s engineers and technicians, together with Nexans’ technical team, carried out repair works at sea in Qalet Marku, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq. According to Ian Spiteri, one of Enemalta’s engineers, a robot was used to cut out over 1.5 km of the damaged cable.
Afterwards, the cast iron shells, which protect the cable, were removed and the damaged part was replaced by a new cable, which was stored at the Delimara Power station and loaded in October onto the French firm’s Nexans Aurora cable-laying vessel (CLV).
Enemalta highlighted that it had opened a legal case for damages against the owners of Chem P, the vessel that caused the damage to the subsea interconnector cable, as the repairs alone cost around €25 million (around $26 million).
Moreover, Alistair Camilleri, Distribution and Projects Divisional Manager at Enemalta, explained that the Malta-based player “immediately started preparing” to conduct the necessary repair works after the incident took place.
In line with this, Carl Hofsli, the Nexans Project Manager overseeing these works, pointed out that Enemalta was able to carry out the necessary repair works and testing in “a timely manner,” ensuring that the interconnector could be re-energised as soon as technically possible, thanks to technology and the firm’s experience.
As the 98-kilometre interconnector cable connects Malta to the European electricity grid in Sicily, Enemalta outlines that the electricity from the interconnector forms around 20 per cent of the electricity energy mix in Malta. During the repair works, this was switched off, and supply was provided by local sources, including Enemalta’s plants which are used in such situations.
In addition, the firm ordered over a kilometre of spare interconnector cable, to be kept in storage in case any damages or faults requiring such a procedure come up in the future.
Meanwhile, the preliminary marine route survey for the second Malta-Sicily cable link was nearing its final stages at the end of October 2022, as reported by the project developer, InterConnect Malta. This is part of the Maltese government’s future energy strategy for meeting the 2030 climate and energy targets and the longer-term decarbonisation objectives.
In a post on social media, Nexans also confirmed that the repair works on the subsea Malta-Italy interconnector cable were finalised.
Regarding Nexans’ recent activities, it is worth noting that the French firm secured in late November 2022 a deal for the Celtic Interconnector project, a subsea link that will allow the exchange of electricity between Ireland and France.
The company sees this as a stepping stone to its ultimate goal of turning into a pure electrification player.