Enemalta finalises Interconnector repair works


Enemalta finalised repair works on the sub-sea Malta-Italy interconnector cable, after it was damaged by a vessel anchor in a storm back in March.

Over the past three weeks, a team of Enemalta engineers and technicians, together with a technical team from Nexans, the company that manufactured the interconnector, carried out repair works at sea in Qalet Marku, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq.

Ing Ian Spiteri, one of Enemalta’s engineers who followed these works closely, explained that a robot was used to cut out over 1.5km of damaged cable. The cast iron shells, which protect the cable, were then removed.

The damaged part was then replaced by a new cable which was stored at the Delimara Power station and was loaded onto the Nexans specialised vessel in October. The jointing
were carried out aboard a specialised cable vessel, the Nexans CVL Aurora, which was only launched last year. It is the world largest cable vessel and is equipped with several technologies to lay long cables under water and make maintenance and their repairs.

These repair works alone cost around €25 million. Enemalta had opened a legal case for damages against the owners of Chem P, the vessel that caused these damages.

Ing Alistair Camilleri, Distribution and Projects Divisional Manager at Enemalta explained that when the incident took place, Enemalta immediately started preparing to conduct the necessary repair works. He thanked all entities that took part in this operation and who cooperated with the company all through this process.

Carl Hofsli, the Nexans Project Manager overseeing these works explained that thanks to the technology and company’s experience, Enemalta could carry out the necessary repair works and testing in a timely manner, ensuring that the interconnector can be re-energised as soon as technically possible.

The 98km interconnector cable connects Malta to the European electricity grid in Sicily. Electricity from the interconnector forms around 20% of the electricity energy mix in our country. During the repair works, it was switched off, and supply was provided by local sources, including Enemalta’s plants that are operated in such situations.

Enemalta has already ordered over a kilometre of spare interconnector cable, to be kept in storage should any damages or faults requiring such procedure come up.