French communications company Orange has launched its new cable-laying vessel, the Sophie Germain, as part of its mission to play a major role in the long-distance network infrastructure market. 

The company’s Orange Marine subsidiary, which manages its submarine cable activities, owns 15% of the global cable ship fleet and will further establish its significant role in the industry with the new vessel. 

Orange Wholesale CEO Michaël Trabbia said: “This technological flagship with a low environmental footprint joins the fleet of Orange Marine, our subsidiary for submarine cable laying and maintenance, which has already deployed over 257,000km of cables under the oceans.” 

Along with furthering the company’s role in the industry, the Sophie Germain also plays into its emissions targets by achieving 25% less fuel consumption than average, 22% fewer emissions and 82% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions. 

The 100m-long ship, which will be based in the port of La Seyne-sur-Mer, has also achieved Bureau Veritas’ CLEANSHIP classification and can be connected to an onshore power supply to further reduce emissions when docked. 

Orange CEO Christel Heydemann said the launch of the ship brought great pride to the company: “Through this launch, the Orange group reaffirms its central role in the laying and maintenance of submarine cables, a little-known industry and yet an essential base for the development of connectivity around the world.” 

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In addition to the ship’s own capabilities, the Sophie Germain will also carry a 450kW remotely operated vehicle that can be used to cut, inspect and bury cables. 

Earlier this year, Fincantieri subsidiary Vard was contracted to build a new cable-laying vessel for an undisclosed company to be delivered in early 2024.