Global Marine Systems

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Global Marine Systems's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Global Marine Systems is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

IanDouglas, chief executive
Delivering operations and maintenance
solutions to wind farms across Europe
The Global Marine Group is at the forefront of engineering
a clean and connected future, building and maintaining
the marine infrastructure that is the lifeblood of the digital
world and at the heart of the clean energy revolution. Since
our predecessors installed the first telegraph cable connecting
England to France in 1850, we have played a pivotal role in the
installation and maintenance of this critical subsea infrastructure.
CEO Ian Douglas discusses their success.
Today, this network of 1.2 million kilometres of fibre optic cable connects every
corner of our globe and is the backbone of the internet, accounting for 97 per
cent of all voice and data traffic worldwide. In recent years, Global Marine Group’s
presence has grown in the offshore renewables and oil and gas sectors, and they are
recognised as a trusted partner in executing complex subsea projects – from installing
power cables and subsea structures, to providing skilled technicians to work offshore.
Keeping our subsea infrastructure safe
The worldwide web is woven together by 450 subsea cables spanning the world’s
oceans, providing an underwater super-highway for digital traffic. Some of these
cables are laid as deep as 8,500 metres, frequently located in busy shipping lanes
and often situated in the most demanding seabed terrains. People are often awed
at the ingenuity of this complex engineering feat, especially when considering the
skill required to lay a cable in an extremely precise corridor, or to retrieve a cable
for repair or replacement when it may be as small as three centimetres in diameter,
and possibly at a depth equivalent to the height of Mount Everest.
»CEO: IanDouglas
»Chairman: DickFagerstal
»Established in 1850
»Based in Chelmsford, Essex
»Services: Offshore engineering
»No. of employees: Around
»Installed over 300,000
kilometres of subsea cable
– 21 per cent of the world’s
»Maintains 360,000 kilometres
of the 1.2 million kilometres of
in service cable.
»Installed more than 850
inter array power cables and
completed890 cable pull-ins
across 46 European wind farms
Global Marine Group
Highlighting best practice
Taking these extraordinary conditions
in account, it is no wonder that
faults occur. Cable failures have
far-reaching and costly implications
in today’s hyper-digital economy,
affecting businesses, consumers and
governments alike. While the topic
of subsea cable security has recently
been a subject of much discussion
in the media, with sensational
headlines published about subsea
cable security and the significant risk
of espionage, the reality is somewhat
different. Other threats are far more
commonplace. In fact, 85 per cent of
all faults are caused by activities such
as fishing, anchoring and dredging.
The remaining 15 per cent are
caused by natural phenomena such
as subsea earthquakes, mudslides or
Our database shows an average of 158
faults annually on fibre optic cables
over the last ten years, and this is
rising approximately 14 per cent per
year; in 2017, an unprecedented 213
faults were recorded. This is where
our fleet of maintenance vessels step
in. Our four maintenance vessels
leave port within 24 hours of fault
notification and remain on standby
at all other times, a stalwart presence
providing reassurance to cable
owners worldwide. Between 2010
and 2017 Global Marine conducted
319 cable repairs around the globe,
achieving an impressive 99.4 per cent
of our customer-set key performance
indicators. For the UK’s £62.8
billion per annum digital economy
that relies heavily on the subsea
telecommunications cables sector, we
perform a critical role to protect the
50 international fibre optic cables that
land in the UK.
Leading with innovation
As a business we are passionate
about being bold and innovative;
our people are solution-driven and,
through the decades, have exemplified
resourcefulness and inventiveness
to constantly improve the solutions
for our customers and set new
benchmarks in the industries we
work in. We are a founding member
of the Universal Jointing Consortium
(UJC), which has pioneered the
creation of a technology that connects
different types of fibre optic cable and
standardises repair processes. This year
the Pacific Telecommunications Council
recognised our contribution to the
UJC and announced us as a runner-
up in their Lifetime Innovation Award
for contribution to technological
developments, an award the entire
team is very proud to have received.
The C.S.
ship has an exemplary
track record of project
laid the first
successful telegraph cable
in August 1850 between
Dover and Calais
85 per cent of
all subsea
cable faults
are caused by
anchoring and
The ethos of innovation is deeply
embedded in our culture and is seen
through the team’s vibrant energy
and our commitment to finding
solutions to today’s industry problems.
The launch of our “Complete Cable
Care” package focused on power
cables and meant adding the
barge to our existing fleet. This
enables us to provide a tailored
solution for repair in both deep
and shallow water, leveraging our
tremendous knowledge built in the
subsea fibre optic market to another
burgeoning marketplace.
A global footprint
We are a truly global business
operating in all the world’s oceans.
However, our origins are very much
British, with our head office in
Chelmsford and a further four coastal
bases in Portsmouth, Portland, Blyth
and Aberdeen. We also have an
office in Singapore; maintenance
vessels located in Canada, Curacao
and the Philippines; and installation
vessels undertaking projects across
the globe. Additionally, we have two
joint ventures in China; Huawei Marine
Networks in partnership with Huawei;
and SBSS established in 1995. In total,
there have been 3,662 fibre optic cable
faults inthe last 30 years, of which we
have repaired 1,145, which equates to
31 per cent of the world total (or 33
per cent combined with our Chinese
joint venture). Partnership has always
been key, and in 2018 we formed
CWind Taiwan to take our experience
constructing and maintaining
offshore wind projects in Europe to a
Company culture
Our success derives from the
tremendous skill and passion of our
people, with an impressive total of
over 6,300 years of collaborative
service within our nearly 1,000-strong
workforce and an average service
length of 11.8 years. Our company
values are clearly defined, starting
with “safety first”; this has been
validated by receiving the Royal Society
for the Prevention of Accidents,
Order of Distinction, following 18
consecutive years of receiving their
Gold Standard in recognition of
outstanding occupational health and
The future
Our entire team is given a strong sense
of purpose by operating in dynamic
sectors that are indispensable to the
way we live today. With demands on
data growing insatiably and a global
trend towards renewable energy,
our opportunities for innovation and
growth are infinite. The Global Marine
Group is 168 years into its journey
and continues to engineer a clean and
connected future.
Global Marine
team has
31per cent of
all fibre optic
repairs in the
last 30years
All fibre optic routes
globally: red denotes
Global Marine Group’s
impressive installation
»Offshore Support Journal’s (OSJ) Shipowner of the Year 2018: This
award recognises a company that above all others demonstrated
excellence in the operation of its vessels.
»SEAIOCMA Cable Maintenance Contract extension: This is the third
and final of Global Marine’s three long-term maintenance contracts
renewed since the beginning of 2016 (NAZ (North America Zone)
announced March 2016 and ACMA (Atlantic Cable Maintenance
Agreement) announced January 2017).

This article was sponsored by Global Marine Systems. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister