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Permitting support in the Caribbean

Tuesday 6th June 2023 | Blog written by Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer

Navigating the complexities of federal permits is not to be underestimated. The process is often long winded, and the information submitted at the point of application needs to be comprehensive and accurate. Ensuring an efficient permitting process is a top priority at OceanIQ as our team appreciate the importance of balancing subsea cable projects and the environment. We support all stages of a project from pre-application planning to post-consent compliance. On this specific project, our services included the provision of qualified personnel to meet permitting requirements.

OceanIQ regularly support sister company Global Marine with consultancy services regarding permitting matters related to survey, installation and maintenance. Recently, OceanIQ supported Global Marine with a maintenance project involving a replacement shore end cable in the Caribbean completed by the Wave Sentinel. OceanIQ were tasked with obtaining the federal maintenance permit and ensuring compliance with the conditions stipulated within this permit. Due to the emergency nature of the repair and vessel availability, time was a critical component in project planning.

We successfully obtained the maintenance permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers via the emergency permit procedure, in advance of project commencement. We provided the client with a comprehensive permit conditions matrix which tracked every permit condition and related actions.

The shore end landing itself was complex and challenging due to the on-site weather conditions and the coral reef. However, the operation was well executed thanks to the dedication and expertise of a talented project team.

Having an awareness for the environmentally sensitive features on-site and ensuring compliance with permitting conditions is fundamental to ensure operations are conducted smoothly and safely, for both personnel and the environment. It is important to complete the works in accordance with the project schedule whilst considering the best approach to avoid potential impacts to the environment. This is a quality that the OceanIQ permitting team possess exceptionally well.

It was an incredible opportunity to be on site for the cable operations as the qualified manatee and sea turtles observer, as specified within the permit conditions. I was present for all in-water work to continuously monitor for such species. I had to establish and implement suitable mitigation measures in case of any encounters. I also ensured compliance with permit conditions and best practice measures to reduce potential impacts of the project on the environment. It was a huge benefit to the project to have an OceanIQ rep on site, not only to meet permit requirements but also to streamline communication and efficiently answer permitting related questions as and when they arose.

I am proud to be able to help the business offer such services due to having marine biology and permitting experience. Offering such services in house really sets OceanIQ apart from other consultancies as our knowledge of subsea cables and consideration for the environment is equal.

Overall, the in-house permitting team at OceanIQ can meet a wide range of permitting needs suited to any subsea cable project

Author: Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer

Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer