Increased Cable-Laying Speed With W?rtsil?'s Solution


Published Sep 10, 2015 4:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

In 2014, the Prysmian Group selected Wärtsilä to supply the equipment needed to convert the Group’s Cable Enterprise barge into an independently operating cable-laying vessel, meaning that the barge would operate without the need of tugs. Wärtsilä’s equipment delivery included additional engines and 8 MW of power generation for six new thrusters, a switchboard, and power management systems for dynamic positioning capabilities.

“We preferred a single supplier and selected Wärtsilä for this project, because their complete solution contained exactly what we required. Due to their proven capability and expertise in this area, Wärtsilä was able to tailor a highly competitive solution”, says Raul Gil Boronat, Chief Operating Officer Submarine at Prysmian Group

The Prysmian Group wanted to enhance its offering of turnkey submarine power cable installation services and decided to convert the Cable Enterprise tugged barge into an independently operating cable vessel. Wärtsilä was selected as the successful bidder for this project due to the company’s proven solutions and ability to understand the requirements of the Prysmian Group. Following the conversion, the Cable Enterprise will start operation on an EXXON field off the west coast of the USA in early summer 2015. This area has very strict environmental regulations and the production fields need to have a shore power connection in order to reduce the NOX and CO2 emissions from the production fields.

The challenge for Wärtsilä in this project was to convert the barge for independent operation, i.e. operation without any assistance from tugs. Moreover, the converted barge must be able to use its own propulsion for steady positioning and still fulfil strict environmental requirements.

The conversion took place at the Victor Lenac yard in Croatia. Wärtsilä delivered two Wärtsilä 26 main engines, two diesel generators, two bow thrusters and drive motors, two retractable thrusters, and integrated electrical and automation control systems. Furthermore, as part of the scope of delivery all the engines had to be connected to Wärtsilä Silencers and a NOX reactor, which would ensure that the vessel can operate with emissions well below IMO Tier III standards.

In a project of this magnitude, with many different stakeholders involved and tight deadlines, the schedule is always a challenge. But in this project, all the parties worked as a team to achieve a common success, says John Chester, General Manager, Services Sales, Wärtsilä UK.


The entire vessel was upgraded during the conversion project. This work included new accommodation and operations decks as well as a new cable tank for future HVDC projects. The ship’s ability to operate in shallow waters remains.

After the conversion of the barge into a ship with DP2 capabilities, the vessel will no longer need tugs during cable-laying. In the future, positioning will be managed with the help of the thrusters delivered by Wärtsilä.

This conversion will allow the Prysmian Group to enhance its offering of turnkey products and services with the ability to offer cable-laying services at a speed which is 10 times faster than a conventional barge, concludes Raul Gil Boronat.

“10 times faster than a conventional barge.”







Converting the barge to operate independently under its own propulsion


Fulfilling the requirements of

IMO Tier III standards


Installation of two main engines, propelling a Voith propulsor, two diesel generators for driving the bow thrusters and retractable thrusters, two bow thrusters and drive motors, as well as two retractable thrusters


Connecting all engines to Wärtsilä Silencers and a NOX reactor, ensuring operation in accordance with

IMO Tier III Design, supply and commissioning of an integrated electrical and automation system consisting of switchboards, variable frequency drives, transformers, soft starters and power management systems



10 times faster cable-laying operation than before the conversion


Cable-laying without assistance from tugs

Steady positioning thanks to the DP2 system


ABS/ US Coastguard compliant systems for DP2 operations

Ability to operate in areas covered by IMO Tier III standards