The final link in Shoreham Port’s communications network was installed this week, completing a five year engineering project to provide state-of-the-art fibre optic communications links between all areas of the Port. Local IT Company, Computer & Network Consultants Ltd (CNC) worked with the Port to plan, install and manage the infrastructure. The final, and most difficult, link comprises a sub-sea cable duct across the eastern end of the Prince Philip ship lock connecting the five miles of communications ducts on the port’s operational areas on the south side of the ship canal to the Harbour Radio and Nautilus House head office buildings on the north side.
Alan Motterham, Commercial/Operations Director commented “every office on our cargo handling terminals can now be given a fast IT network and telecom connection to our main Port Operations Office and the Operations Office in turn will have hugely improved telephone and IT connections to Nautilus House two miles away in Southwick. This will enable us to provide a much more efficient and quicker service to our customers”.
The steel pipe ducts were positioned accurately in trenches dug into the sea bed across the lock by the Port Engineering Dive Team under the supervision of Assistant Port Engineer Keith Wadey and Dive Team Supervisor Carl Aichroth. Once the pipes were in place, they were given a protective layer of reject brick-filled wire baskets, known as gabions and the trenches were then back-filled with sand. Keith said “working in near-zero visibility at a depth of 8 metres was quite a challenge and positioning the pipes in the trench was hard work, but the Dive Team did an excellent job”.
The duct trenches were dug into heavy clay by GPS Marine Contractors of London using their ‘Arnaud Regis’ work barge fitted with a giant computer-controlled excavator capable of digging to a precision of just millimetres in the sea bed 8 metres below the water surface. The trench work also gave an opportunity to install additional power lines and a new water main, providing enhanced fire fighting and vessel servicing capabilities close to the Port’s Harbour Radio building.