Helping create an energy bridge between Italy and Tunisia (ELMED)

Navigational risk assessment for cable laying activities

Helping create an energy bridge between Italy and Tunisia (ELMED)

The ELMED project will create an energy bridge between Italy and Tunisia. The bi-directional power exchange will be the first direct current connection between Europe and Africa.

The 220 km power line will run from the converter substation at Partanna (Sicily) to the substation at Mlaabi on the Tunisian peninsula of Cap Bon, crossing the Strait of Sicily for approximately 200 km.  

The submarine cable is being co-financed by EBRD, EIB, KfW and EU.

What we did

NASH Maritime was commissioned to provide a Navigation Risk Assessment (NRA) to support the cable laying activities.

Crucial to assessing navigational risk is developing an understanding of the existing navigation environment and current baseline vessel traffic movements.  

To support this task, we collated project related data and information and worked with EBRD to approach primary consultees (Italian Coastguard, Tunisian Coastguard, Italian Navy, Tunisian Navy and the Fisheries Department for Italy and Tunisia).

Building on this baseline, our marine traffic analysts developed a vessel traffic profile using specialist GIS and inhouse modelling tools. Using this information, NASH Maritime mapped and analysed vessel traffic density, navigation patterns and existing navigational constraints influencing the risk profile both to, and caused by, the ELMED cable laying operations.

Quantitative risk modelling then examined the likelihood of collision in the baseline and when factoring in the vessel movement associated with cable laying activities, identifying key higher risk areas.

The outputs of these three tasks along with input from stakeholders was then used to prepare the qualitative navigation risk assessment itself to identify risk controls to enhance the safety of the cable laying operations and support the future success of the ELMED project.

The final Navigation Risk Assessment was provided to EBRD as a technical report in December 2023.

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