Cable layer

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CS Cable Innovator at anchor in Astoria, Oregon showing modern design without bow sheaves.
CS Hooper, the World's first purpose-built cable-laying ship, built by C. Mitchell & Co of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1873, renamed CS Silvertown in 1881
CS Dependable at Astoria, Oregon, a modern stern sheave design.

A cable layer or cable ship is a deep-sea vessel designed and used to lay underwater cables for telecommunications, electric power transmission, or other purposes. Cable ships are distinguished by large cable sheaves1 for guiding cable over bow or stern or both. Bow sheaves,2 some very large, were characteristic of all cable ships. Newer ships are tending toward pure stern layers with stern sheaves only as seen in the photo of CS Cable Innovator at the Port of Astoria on this page. The names of cable ships are often preceded by "C.S." as in CS Long Lines.3

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid by cable layers from 1857–58. It briefly enabled telecommunication between Europe and North America before misuse resulted in failure of the line. In 1866 the SS Great Eastern successfully laid two transatlantic cables, securing future communication between the continents.

HMTS4 Monarch (renamed CS Sentinel 13 October 1970)1 completed the first transatlantic telephone cable, TAT-1 in 19565 from Scotland to Nova Scotia for Britain's General Post Office (GPO).

In addition to cable layer ships, there are cable repairing ships which were tasked with finding and repairing under sea cables that broke or for whatever reason became inoperable. 6 7

See also


  1. ^ a b | History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
  2. ^ | NavSource Photo, USS Neptune (ARC 2) bow sheaves
  3. ^ |Leo Parrish and CS Long Lines (working TAT-5)
  4. ^ |A short introduction to cable ships - See HMTS.
  5. ^ | History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications - Cable Signalling Speed and Traffic Capacity
  6. ^ Popular Mechanics, April 1930, pg 621 various drawing and cutaways of cable repair ship operations
  7. ^

External links

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