Laying of Murmansk-Vladivostok Underwater Fiber Optic Cable in the Barents Sea Begins

The laying of the Polar Express fiber optic communications line between Murmansk and Vladivostok began on Friday at the Murmansk Region’s Teriberka on the Barents Sea, according to Advanced Technologies Management CEO Alexei Strelchenko, TASS reports.

“We started undersea work today to lay the fiber optic cable in the Barents Sea,” he added. “The work will begin at Teriberka and will proceed eastward in the Barents Sea.”

Previously, he stated, the company’s specialists had placed the first four kilometers of cable in Teriberka’s coastline area – by horizontal drilling. The firm intended to link that section with the underwater cable on Friday.

The underwater cable is installed at depths of up to 1.5 meters to protect it from sweepers and anchors.

The first section, around 400 kilometers long, was uploaded on Thursday, August 5, onto a special vessel capable of laying more than 12 kilometers of cable each day at the company’s freshly commissioned factory in Murmansk. The Northern Wave and the Yauza will be among the nine vessels involved in the line’s construction: four exploration vessels, three supply vessels, and two cable-laying vessels.

The first Polar Express route between Teriberka and Amderma is scheduled to open in 2022. In Teriberka, a station with the requisite equipment has been erected. “Right now, we’re working on a comparable station in Amderma (the Yamalo-Nenets Region),” stated the CEO of the firm. “There, we intend to experiment with wind generators as alternative energy sources.” The Polar Express undersea fiber optic communications connection in the Arctic is a 12,650-kilometer-long six-pair optic fiber cable with a capacity of up to 104 TB/sec. The total cost of the project is 65 billion rubles ($884 million). The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

The shortest fiber optic connection between Europe and Asia will serve as an alternative to satellite communication in the northern hemisphere. It will provide dependable and cheap communication as well as high-speed Internet access in the Russian Arctic. The Polar Express is a digital component for the development of the Northern Sea Route and associated infrastructures, as well as for Arctic oil and ecology initiatives. The Polar Express project was unveiled in November 2020 during the Transport of Russia expo.