BANDON - The China-US system cables off Whiskey Run, just south of Cape Arago, are scheduled to be recovered this month by Mertech Marine, a global cable submarine telecommunication cable recycling company based in South Africa. Work was set to begin sometime this week.
The operation will involve recovery of the two cables from near the shore to approximately 1,000 fathoms of water depth, according to a press release from the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee based in Astoria. The primary recovery vessel will be the M/V Layla, a vessel which has been modified into a special purpose vessel for submarine cable recovery.
Other vessels involved in the operation are the M/V Pacific Eagle (a Coos Bay-based tug), the M/V Surveyor (to be used as a diver support vessel), and the M/V JAB, which is chartered for anchor handling.
Of the four AT&T cables that land south of Cape Arago, only the two CHUS cables will be recovered at this time.
Mertech recycles the recovered cable at their facility in South Africa. The company breaks down the cables into their component parts, with the primary products being high strength steel wire, copper and polyethylene.
The area of operations is shown in the attached graphic.
"This is a first for Oregon – recovering out-of-service cables," said Arlene Landwehr, administrative assistant of the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee. "Hopefully it will set a good precedent. Cable recovery is expensive so it is great a company can do it and find ways to repurpose the cable parts."
The vessel captains request a minimum "closest point of approach" (CPA) of .5 nm and can be reached on ch. 16 VHF. For more information on the OFCC, visit www.ofcc.com.