Samoa edges Pacific hub dream with Submarine Cable Depot opening

Securing the cable inside the depot for easy dispatch when required by the service ship Reliance that will serve 28 other submarine cables in the region

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2018: Samoa’s aspirations to be the Pacific hub for submarine cables, moved closer with the opening yesterday of the Samoa Submarine Cable Depot at the Matautu-tai wharf.

Strategically located, the Depot is a few meters away from its service ship Reliance when it berths at the wharf. It is the only such facility in this part of the Pacific and will play an integral part in the maintenance of the growing number of submarine cables in the region.

The depot will host more than 28 telecommunications and power cable systems with a combined length of over 69 km in the vast Pacific Ocean.

In opening the facility yesterday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the benefits of having the company in Samoa include the increase in revenue through local companies fees and charges, the fees paid by the company’s Reliance Boat which will regularly berth at the wharf and the crews regular contribution to the economy.

There will also be employment and a chance to upskill local sailors through training on the service boat and employment for 30 local men.

A plan is also in place for a submarine cable linking schools for training and certification.

Tuilaepa also highlighted Samoa’s aspiration to be the hub for Polynesia Submarine Cables and the rest of the world.

“This is a real and tangible example of regional cooperation via the one Polynesia strategy which was revealed and well received by Polynesia leaders meeting last year in Apia and in Tuvalu this year,” said Tuilaepa.

The project is a partnership between Samoa Submarine Cable and TE Sub-Com Company which is a pioneer in submarine cable technology.

The Managing Director for Oceania and Global Marine Maintenance Strategy at TE Sub-Com, Thomas Soerensen said they have 9 depots in the world.

“But the one in Samoa is by far the most state of the art so far, and this is due to its flexibility in size which enables them to further develop their business,” Soerensen announced during the opening.

The Managing Director for Oceania and Global Marine Maintenance Strategy at TE Sub-Com, Thomas Soerensen

“The location next to the wharf proximity is absolutely perfect,” he said.

TE Sub-Com is servicing 31 cable systems and the furthest from the Pacific are Perth in Western Australia, Singapore, Tahiti East and Hawai’i in the northern side.

“Geographically Samoa is not the centre, but here we found people who wanted us to come. All the 31 cables systems are stored and installed at the Samoa Cable Depot,” said Soerensen.

The TE Sub-Com Service ship Reliance in the Apia port