Orange Marine

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Orange Marine
Type Simplified joint stock company
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1999 (1999)
Headquarters 16-18, rue Paul Lafargue 92800 Puteaux France
Number of locations 2 marine bases in Brest and La Seyne-sur-Mer
Key people Raynald Leconte (CEO)
Services Installation and maintenance of submarine telecommunication systems
Employees 250
Parent Orange S.A.
Orange Marine's cable ship René Descartes

Orange Marine (formerly France Télécom Marine) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Orange S.A. It is a major actor in the laying of new submarine communications cables and the maintenance of existing cables across the world's oceans. The company is active in all areas of these activities, including the study (survey) and the shore ends. Orange Marine took control of Elettra (previously owned by Telecom Italia) on October 1, 2010, and now operates 6 cable ships - i.e. 15% of the world fleet. Orange Marine and Elettra CEO is Raynald Leconte, Chief Engineer of Mines.

Installation and maintenance activities[edit]

Orange Marine lays new submarine cables and repairs broken links without any interruption of traffic. Orange Marine and Elettra fleets perform an average of 40 operations a year.

Orange Marine has laid more than 130,000 kilometres of submarine cable in all oceans, 15,000 of which were buried with its ploughs. In total, cable ships have carried out nearly 300 repairs, some of which at a depth of 5000 metres over the last ten years.

Orange Marine has recently completed the laying and maintenance of cables in West Africa in Senegal, Cameroon, Benin, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as in East Africa, Reunion Island, Madagascar and Mauritius, Asia and Indonesia. The company also laid a new cable in the Caribbean sea, linking U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Cable ships fleet[edit]

The fleet covers all of the world's oceans, divided into four regions of operation: ACMA (Atlantic and Northern Europe), MECMA with Elettra (Mediterranean, Black Sea, Red Sea), Southern Hemisphere (West, South and East Africa) and the Indian Ocean. Submarine cables laid in the same area are covered by a maintenance agreement.

Orange Marine and Elettra own a fleet of 6 [cable ship]s and a complete range of submarine engines, shipping from its marine bases or foreign harbours:

  • Cable ship (C/S) Raymond Croze, based in la Seyne-sur-Mer at the MMB (Mediterranean Marine Base), performs the repairs on cables in Mediterranean sea, Black sea and Red sea,
  • C/S Leon Thevenin, based in Brest at the AMB (Atlantic Marine Base), repairs the cables in the Atlantic zone and in Northern Europe,
  • C/S Chamarel, based in Cape Town (South Africa), operates in the Southern Hemisphere,
  • C/S Rene Descartes is dedicated to the installation of submarine cables on a worldwide range
  • C/S Certamen works with the Raymond Croze on cable maintenance in the Mediterranean, Black and Red seas.le Certamen
  • C/S Teliri operates laying operations, mainly around the Mediterranean Basin.

Elettra operates two cable ships, the Certamen and the Teliri, under the Italian flag, and owns a cable depot in Catania

In order to protect, watch and repair intercontinental damaged links, Orange Marine, through its subsidiary SIMEC, designs, manufactures and operates submarine vehicles (ROV and ploughs) used to carry out assignments: - The Hector ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle - which is remotely controlled from the ship via its umbilical cable) can lift the cable, hold it and cut it using articulated arms, - Elodie, the plough, is used to bury the cable at significant depths.

Stakes for the telecommunications industry[edit]

Due to the expansion of business and social networks, downloading and data exchange, the volume of data passing through the network is growing exponentially. Networks are constantly evolving to meet customer needs, with ever-larger bandwidth and power requirements. Submarine cables carry most international communications. Very large bandwidth fiber optic submarine cables are the most appropriate method to connect areas having an ocean front to terrestrial links. Satellite links are better for remote areas or those with low traffic density.

Aboard a cable ship[edit]

The carriers need reliable cable ships able to sail in less than 24 hours after the customer request, bringing spare cable and jointing kits to perform the repair. The cable ships are able to conduct operations in difficult weather conditions. Each ship carries a 50 person crew, including 20 officers and mates. The mission staff is composed of 12 technicians: telecom technicians, jointers, submarine engine pilots. The crew on duty are ready to sail within 24 hours, 365 days a year, to effect repairs. The operations are conducted by two complementary teams: the Captain and his crew manage the ship operations and are responsible for safety aboard; the Chief of mission and his operational staff are in charge of the cable operations and manage customer relations with the carrier’s representative, embarked for the duration of the mission. These teams work closely together to ensure optimal service quality to customers, international carriers consortia.

Repair operations average six to 20 days, depending on the time to reach the work area. Each ship operates from 12 to 15 times a year.

Towards sustainable development[edit]

Orange Marine's sites (headquarters in Paris, marine bases and cable ships) are certified ISO 9001 (service quality) and ISO 14001 (management of environmental impacts). The company and its ships are also compliant to the ISM, International Safety Management code. Orange Marine put into place an integrated management system in 2000, to insure that all the company's activities would be compliant to legal and customer requirements, following a continuous improvement scheme.

In 2009, the use of xbee biotechnological and natural fuel additive helped to reduce the fuel consumption of the Descartes, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous dioxide, and also particulates.

Orange Marine has signed a partnership with the French association Souffleurs d’Ecume to experiment REPCET on cable ship Raymond Croze. This positioning system helps prevent collisions with cetaceans.

Key figures[edit]

  • more than 130 000 kilometres of submarine cables laid in all the oceans, of which 15 000 buried by the ploughs
  • about 150 repair operations between 2006 and 2010
  • 4 operation zones: ACMA (Atlantic and Northern Europe), MECMA (Mediterranean, Black Sea, Red Sea), Southern Hemisphere (West, South and East Africa) and the Indian Ocean
  • cable ship Chamarel, alias Vercors, laid in the past 40 years 120 000 km of submarine cables on her own

External links[edit]


  • 'Du Morse à l'Internet - 150 ans de télécommunication par câbles sous-marins' by Rene Salvador, Gérard Fouchard and Yves Rolland ('2006 - isbn 2-9586121-0-2')

See also[edit]

This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.