Crew members help spiff up the Wave Sentinel in preparation for the Olympic coverage. *Photo by Simon Jones
Crew members help spiff up the Wave Sentinel in preparation for the Olympic coverage. *Photo by Simon Jones
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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27: This summer the crew of Wave Sentinel will be tasked with a job of Olympic proportions.

It will be their task to fix any faults in the fibre-optic cables running along the North Atlantic seabed while the world’s biggest sporting event is beamed out of London.

The cable ship arrived in Bermuda on May 5 from her home in Portland in the UK.

The crew hasn’t been called into action since the ship got here but they have been running through training drills and carrying out routine maintenance so she is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Her current commander, Chris Neave, has over 25 years experience at sea repairing, laying and maintaining power and fibre-optic cables across the world.

A highly skilled crew of officers, systems technicians and ratings are supporting him.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “One of the main reasons this ship has been temporarily stationed in Bermuda is so we can shoot out the repair the North Atlantic cables during the Olympics.

“We are the fire brigade of the sea in many ways so we have to be ready to go as soon as we get the call.

“The race is always on because when a cable goes down the cable operator has to pay out money to use another operator’s system — so we aim to get out to where the fault is as quickly as possible.

“Once there a job can take several hours depending on the nature of the fault.

“In most cases we drop the ROV (remote-operated vehicle) down on to the seabed.

“It picks up the cable and cuts the problem area.

“Then we bring the cable to the surface and our systems technicians sort out the problem.

“It is a highly skilled process and I still really enjoy being a part of it. There is never a boring moment.”

Commander Neave will finish his two-month attachment on board Wave Sentinel on July 8.

He, like most of the crew, are on rolling contracts which can see them deployed to other ships that are part of the Global Marine Systems Limited fleet.

His next port of call will be Victoria in Canada where he will join the ship Wave Venture.

However, Wave Sentinel will remain in Bermuda until October when she heads back to the UK.

The ship itself is a former ferry that was designed to take passengers from Portsmouth in England to France.

Commodore Shipping sold her in 2001 to Global Marine who conducted an extensive re-fit in Middlesborough to transform her into a state-of-the-art cable ship.

Today the ship is home to 28 officers and a further 28 crew and it houses an officer’s mess and bar as well as a launderette and gym.

She is currently alongside at the commercial berth in Dockyard.

Elsewhere this week, the heavy lift ship, Saimaagracht, will arrive into the Great Sound on Thursday morning to pick up three yachts that took part in the Newport to Bermuda Race.

She is due to leave the island on Friday morning, but incoming bad weather may force her to delay lifting the multi-million dollar yachts onboard and put back her departure to Tenerife.

On Friday morning the car carrier, Grand Legacy, will sail into Hamilton to drop off the latest batch of new Japanese cars.

She is scheduled to leave the same day.

Today the usual suspects of the Norwegian Star and Celebrity Summit arrive in Dockyard for a two-day stay.

The Somers Isles is also due into Hamilton today and will be followed by the Bermuda Islander tomorrow.

Finally this Saturday the Enchantment of the Seas heads into the West End and she will be joined by the Norwegian Dawn on Sunday morning.

The Oleander’s arrival on Sunday afternoon makes up the shipping news for this week.