A cable production and distribution company has supplied two lengths of double-armoured CTD (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth) cable for polar research vessels.

Cable for polar vessels

ECL supplied cable for the 'RRS James Clark Ross' and the 'RRS Sir David Attenborough'. Image: ECL

Elmeridge Cables Limited (ECL) were asked by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to supply the cable for two Royal Research Survey vessels. These separate contracts were for a single 8,000m length for the RRS James Clark Ross, one of the world's most advanced polar research ships, and a single 10,000m length for the RRS Sir David Attenborough, the UK’s new polar research ship.

Both vessels work in very sensitive and often extreme weather environments, and therefore great care and attention had to be taken throughout each production stage.

“BAS stipulated that to avoid slippage on the winch during deployment and recovery, no grease or oil could be applied on or to the armour wires of Galvanised Improved Plow Steel (GIPS), an assurance we were happy to give,” said ECL.

ECL use Polypropylene (PP) as insulation on the conductor rather than High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which guarantees greater flexibility and longevity, plus eliminates hardening and cracking.

BAS also had strict specifications regarding the diameter and width of the cables drums, even down to hole size for the spindle. This was to allow direct loading and unloading of the drums to and from the winches on board both vessels.

By Rebecca Jeffrey