An 87-metre long ship, the TEK Ocean Spirit, has departed the Port of Burnie for Marinus Link’s largest underwater engineering survey of Bass Strait.

The survey will help refine the final design and installation methodology for the proposed interconnector cable.

Marinus Link Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TasNetworks, announced last year an Australian company, MMA Offshore, won the $5.5 million contract to carry out critical engineering surveys, known as the Marine Engineering Geotechnical Site Investigation (MEGSI).

The 32 expert crew aboard the survey ship TEK Ocean Spirit left the Port of Burnie on Friday 11 February and will take between four to six weeks to survey the 255 kilometres between Heybridge in North West Tasmania and Waratah Bay in South Gippsland, Victoria.

TEK Ocean Spirit at Heybridge 3 1

The survey will be conducted on approximately 110 sites across Bass Strait, in sea depths up to 80 metres. It is Marinus Link’s third major marine survey undertaken to determine the most suitable corridor for burying the project’s undersea cables.

Marinus Link Pty Ltd CEO Bess Clark said this survey is another demonstration of Marinus Link’s commitment to rigorous technical processes to sensitively design and build this national-priority infrastructure.

“Marinus Link is key to Australia’s clean energy future – increasing reliability, placing downward pressure on electricity prices and cutting emissions by making the most of our high quality renewable energy resources,” Ms. Clark said. “Marinus Link, together with augmentations to Tasmania’s electricity network, is well underway and has passed a Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) overseen by the independent Australian Energy Regulator (AER).”

The ship and its crew from Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria has been based in Port Anthony (Victoria) getting fitted out for the survey for several weeks in the lead up to departure.

“This survey builds on the results and analysis of previous surveys we have conducted. The locations chosen to take samples have been selected to minimise the impact on the seabed floor, reefs and marine life,” said Offshore Lead for Marinus Link, Sean Van Steel.

The $3.5bn Marinus Link interconnector is a proposed 1500 megawatt electricity and telecommunications connection between Victoria and Tasmania.

Marinus Link involves approximately 255 kilometres of undersea High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable and approximately 90 kilometres of underground HVDC cable, plus converter stations in Tasmania and Victoria. The supporting North West Transmission Developments in North West Tasmania involves the construction of approximately 240 kilometres High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) transmission lines.