Manatua Fibreoptic Cable Lands in Rarotonga

Avaroa Cable has confirmed that the Manatua One Polynesia submarine cable system has been brought ashore in Rutaki village, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

The cable will provide international connectivity to Rarotonga and Aitutaki when it goes live in May 2020 with a capacity of up to 10Tbps.

It will connect Apia in Samoa, Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Niue and, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.

Manatua will be the first submarine cable to connect the Cook Islands and also the first in Niue.

The last two remaining Manatua landings will be undertaken in Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia and will be completed in January 2020. The cable was landed on Aitutaki on 14 December 2019.

The landing followed Tropical Cyclone Sarai which had created difficult sea conditions over the last week requiring deep sea cable laying operations to be temporarily suspended. The planned landing operation combined over 100 engineers and support staff from SubCom, Optic Marine Group and Avaroa Cable.

Despite this, the initial attempt to land the cable the previous day was aborted due to dangerous surf and sea swells. Improved conditions on the second day allowed the team to negotiate the currents of the Rutaki reef passage with the assistance of divers and cable specialists, placing the cable exactly in accordance with engineering plans. Cook Islands National Environmental Service were on hand to monitor the operation.

The cable will now be connected through to the Rarotonga International Cable Landing Station being constructed by Avaroa Cable at Aroa.

Separately, cable laying vessel SubCom Reliance will continue to deploy the Manatua cable to join up with the main cable.

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, ACL CEO and Vice Chair of the Manatua Cable Consortium, said: “Extreme sea conditions following Tropical Cyclone Sarai, along with the surf and strong currents of Rutaki passage, have combined to make this probably the most technically complex of the Manatua landings so far. The teams have worked incredibly well together and the outcome has been excellent. There is more work to do but we now have one of the most challenging aspects safely behind us.”

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