Global Marine Systems, an independent subsea cable installation and maintenance company, has successfully installed South Korea’s first deep sea Ocean observatory to help detect high levels of seismic activity.

The 20km seismic cable, installed in November as part of a test project for the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), stretches from the island of Ulleungdo, 135km east of the Korean peninsula, out to sea. If successful, similar systems could be rolled out along the whole of the Korean Peninsular.

Global Marine’s Wave Mercury ship installed the seismic cable and OBU (Ocean Bottom Unit) at a depth of 2,000 metres on behalf of its client KIT Valley, providers of seismic monitoring systems. The OBU acts as a “listening device” on the seafloor, by sensing changes in water pressure and acoustic vibrations. This data is then relayed back in real time via the seismic cable direct to staff at the KMA.

The cable installation and testing was completed in four days and full results of the test project are due on January 1 2007.

‘Asia is one of the most active regions for tsunami activity in the world and this test project could play a significant part in developing the long-term safety of South Korea’s coastal areas,’ commented KIT Valley Director Han SehSub.