Whales permitting, Hawaiki sub cable to hit Sydney in August 2017

Filing tells NSA exactly where to send cable-sniffing divers

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The Hawaiki Cable, which would create trans-Pacific competition for those shipping bits across the ocean to Australia and New Zealand, plans to get its Australian landing in place by August 2017.

That information comes via its environmental impact statement, published in this PDF.

In the document, the company says it will be using the Coogee cable landing, which is part of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's Southern Sydney Cable Protection Zone.

Other cables in the zone are the southern landings of Australia-Japan Cable and Southern Cross Cable, Telstra's Endeavour Cable, and the venerable Tasman 2 cable.

Surveying is due to begin in December 2016, the filing states, and it notes that the cable layers will try not to upset whales during their migration season. Here's the cetacean clause:

“Surveying activities have been scheduled to start and complete in December 2016, avoiding the sensitive window of whale migratory season. Delays in the commencement of cable surveying could push the survey into January/February 2017; should this occur, surveying activities are still well ahead of the whale migratory season which commences in May and continues through to November. Hence sufficient contingency period has been allowed to restrict surveying activities outside of migration season”.

Close to shore, the cable will be drilled 20 metres under the sea-bed to avoid damaging reefs and seaweed beds. Once clear of the inshore environment, the cable will be ploughed-in until the water is 1,500 metres deep, after which it will be laid on the sea floor.

To fight off NSA operatives using submarines – or, more likely, stray anchors and whales – the inshore cable will have two layers of steel armour.

Hawaiki was first proposed in 2012, but it took until April this year before all funding was secured for the 30 Tbps cable. ®


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