Cable lying vessel, as the name implies, are those ships or vessels that are primarily designed to lay cables offshore or in deep waters. The importance of the cable laying ships has increased due to recent advancement of communication systems, which ultimately require powerful and effective transmission lines. Cable laying operations such as fiber optics for telecoms, power cable for power transmission from offshore wind farms, and umbilical installation in offshore oil & gas operations utilize cable laying vessels.

Cable laying ships are designed specifically to cater to the cable laying operation; however, since cable laying operations are not frequent, these vessels are also employed for other purposes such as research and monitoring of the ocean floor. Cable laying vessels are equipped with modern technology of dynamic positioning and dynamic tracking systems in order to simplify the intricate operation of laying cables. The vessels are able to track the pinpoint location due to these systems, thus making the cable laying operation smooth and simple. The size of the vessel depends upon the type of equipment installed on the deck such as carousels, trencher, ploughs, cranes, and accommodation capacity.

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Cable laying vessels are used for both, laying the cable as well as repairing damaged lines. Thus, based on operation type, the cable laying vessel market can be segmented into cable laying operation, cable repairing operation, and combination (cable laying & repairing). Some of the advanced cable laying vessels are equipped with the facilities of cable laying as well as repairing. In terms of cable laying capacity (in tons), the cable laying vessels market can be segmented into below 1000, 1000 – 3000, 3000 – 5000, 5000 – 7000, and 7000 & above. The most common range is 4000 to 6000 tons of cable laying capacity. This capacity directly depends on the carousels (turn tables) installed on the deck of the vessel. Based on operating water depth, the cable laying vessel market can be segregated into shallow water vessel and deep water vessel.

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Increasing trend and demand for high speed internet, rising demand for electricity, and rapid development in telecommunication systems are the key drivers for the cable laying vessel market. Telecommunication and power cables are preferred to be laid underwater, as once the cables are laid, they are free from any disturbance. Underwater cables are not affected by natural calamities, unlike their surface counterparts. Furthermore, the cables can be laid uninterrupted over a longer length, unlike their surface counterparts, as the cable laying operation is deep and far below the ocean surface. However, significant capital investment is likely to pose a major restraint to the cable laying vessel market. Nevertheless, the inevitable need for effective communication and internet facilities subsides the restraints.

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In terms of region, Europe is expected to lead the cable laying vessel market. The region is home to major vessels builders who are pioneers in the design of cable laying vessels. Moreover, the region has many offshore oil & gas operations. Several countries in Europe such as Denmark and the Netherlands are developing offshore renewable energy plants which are likely to require power transmission cables. Thus, posing lucrative opportunity for the cable laying vessels market. North America is another prominent market for cable laying vessels. Asia Pacific is anticipated to witness major offshore activity in terms of the oil & gas industry, especially in countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. This, in turn, is projected to fuel the demand for high performance telecom and internet services in the region.

Major players operating in the cable laying vessels market are Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., Van Oord, IHC Merwede, ABB, Damen Shipyards Group, ASEAN Cable ship Pte Ltd., Blue Offshore, Global Marine, Engineering Technology Applications Ltd., and SIEM OFFSHORE CONTRACTORS.

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