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New Code of Practice could save millions by preventing subsea cable failure

Published on 26 October 2023

With some estimates putting the cost of subsea cable failure for Offshore Wind at more than £500 million in 2020, the average insurance claim worth more than £3 million, and an estimated 30% failure rate in any given year, IMCA has released a new Code of Practice to improve the installation of underwater power cables in offshore wind.

The Code of Practice for Offshore Cable Laying in the Renewable Energy Industry (IMCA M264) addresses issues for the safe laying and terminating of offshore power cables to prevent damage, a significant challenge for offshore wind where rates of failure result in millions worth of loss to everyone involved in delivery – including contractors, developers, and insurers.

At the point at which cables leave the laying vessel and meet the seabed, they are frequently subject to damage caused by over-bending, cable-pulling, and inadequate design of lead into the monopile.

IMCA Contact

Mark Ford
Marine & Quality Manager

In addressing issues such as the laying spread – the combined set of systems required for the installation of the cable – as well as the interface between the vessel and the spread, and the safest methodology for overboarding, trenching and cable pulling, the IMCA Code of Practice establishes a new baseline for safely laying offshore submarine power cables which will significantly improve performance.

Mark Ford, Marine & Quality Manager, IMCA, said: “This new Code of Practice is a great example of the role IMCA plays in facilitating industry collaboration to improve offshore delivery and performance.”

“Contractors have come together to share their experiences around the design, testing, operation and maintenance of cable laying, the specialised equipment and technology used, and how it interfaces with supporting vessels. Decades of experience gained through the installation of thousands of kilometres of offshore cables has helped us to find tangible solutions for the industry as a whole.”

“There are huge expectations around Offshore Wind in helping countries around the globe meet Net Zero targets. Fixing ongoing challenges around the installation of power cables could bring substantial savings for project and maintenance costs. Research shows that 90% of insurance claims for power cables are due to damage caused during installation, and this new IMCA Code of Practice will help reduce this figure.”

Register or login with your work email to download the new IMCA Code of Practice now.