ICPC’s 2022 Plenary Tables Top Issues

This year’s International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) Plenary was a virtual affair, held over two days, 26 – 27 April 2022. The theme for ICPC 2022, Installing, Operating and Maintaining Resilient Submarine Cable Infrastructure in a Rapidly Evolving Global Environment, drew close to 300 ICPC members and an impressive array of speakers—over 20 in all—to discuss the many factors currently shaping the state of the global subsea cable industry.

The two days covered much ground (a program of the online presentations is detailed below), tabling a wide assortment of topics ranging from cable protection supported by Coast Guard assets to sustainability, from public policy protections to disaster planning and recovery.

However, the key takeaway from ICPC 2022 is that there is an ever-changing and rapidly evolving landscape of rules and regulations that will continue to impact critical infrastructure development around the globe for the foreseeable future. The subsea telecommunications and offshore energy & renewables sectors show little sign of market slowdown so, amid mounting demands for new submarine infrastructure and enhancements of existing systems, there is a growing and collective need to profile the criticality of these systems and their vulnerability to third party damage—to stakeholder governments and organizations.

While many of the more persistent network development challenges remain, such as the permitting requirements and environmental impact assessment work associated with the planning, building, and maintenance of cable routes, there are several other top-tier concerns—including security, longevity, business dynamics, digital sovereignty, ownership, and conquering the global digital divide—that in a relatively young decade of ocean exploration can only benefit from fresh thinking and an industry-wide spirit of collaboration.

This is what makes organizations like ICPC—and their international events—so important. ICPC continues to provide invaluable leadership and key analysis of the latest challenges facing subsea operations while, at the same time, driving awareness of the likely impacts of a burgeoning industry and what growth initiatives might be required to propel this unique professional community forward.

OSI, as a proud and active member of the ICPC, was delighted to participate in 2022’s online event and the team looks forward to the ICPC 2023 Plenary, slated for 18 – 20 April as an in-person event in Madrid, Spain. More details regarding the venue, registration, and the ICPC’s Call for Papers is due out later in the year.

ICPC 2022 Presentations

Day 1: Seven live online presentations:

  • NATO Operation Sea Guardian—Supporting Maritime Security in the Mediterranean, presented by Commander António Mourinha from Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM)
  • iAtlantic: A Health Check for Atlantic Ocean Ecosystems, presented by Professor Murray Roberts from University of Edinburgh (School of GeoSciences)
  • Global Communications Infrastructure: Undersea and Beyond, presented by Mrs. Lori Gordon from Aerospace Corporation & Ms. Karen Jones from The Center for Space Policy and Strategy
  • Hot Topics in Law and Regulation of Submarine Cables, presented by Mr. Kent Bressie from Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and ICPC International Cable Law Adviser (ICLA)
  • Cooperative Resource Protection in a Blue Economy: Marine Spatial Planning to the Rescue, presented by Commodore Daniel Atakpa from the Nigerian Navy
  • Revolutionizing Antarctic Science: The Impact of an Instrumented Subsea Cable between New Zealand and Antarctica, presented by Mr. Peter Neff from University of Minnesota
  • Sensing the Future—Photonics and the Development of Fiber Optic Based Monitoring Capabilities for Subsea Cables. Have We arrived at an Always-On Constant Monitoring State for Sub-Sea Cable Asset Protection? presented by Dr Nate Lindsey from FiberSense Pty Limited

Day 2: Four live online presentations:

  • The Tonga Cable Outage: Drawing Lessons Demonstrating Our Need to Strengthen Resilience and Consider Political, Economic and Development Impacts, presented by Mr. Bart Hogeveen from Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Could ICPC’s Best Practices Be Implemented as a Legislation for Legal Protection of Submarine Cables: A Case Study in Malaysia, presented by Mr. Wahab Jumrah from Optic Marine Group
  • Extending the Reach of Sub-Sea Passive Fibre Optic Cables by Feeding a Mid-Span Remote Optical Pumped Amplifier (ROPA) from a Separate Cable, presented by Mr. Rolf Bøe from Tampnet
  • The ‘Collect Once, Use Often’ Ethos: How to Make Data Work for Permitting, presented by Dr Lorraine Gray from Pioneer Consulting

Day 2 concluded with an exclusive pre-recorded round table panel discussion hosted and moderated by ICPC’s John Wrottesley: Cable Protection—A Regional Perspective featured panelists Joska Ferenz (representing OSCA); Adnan Hidic (representing DKCPC); Bob Wargo (representing NASCA); and Steve Dawe (representing ESCA).