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Date: June 15, 2005

UVic Signs Contract for Venus Subsea Project

The University of Victoria has signed a contract with Global Marine Systems Ltd. in conjunction with its Canadian subcontractor, OceanWorks International Corp., to install the first leg of a subsea cabled observatory in Saanich Inlet.

The $10-million Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) project, led by UVic, will be a 50-km network of underwater fibre-optic cable and instruments. It will provide scientists and the general public with around-the-clock biological, oceanographic and geological information and images from the depths of Saanich Inlet and the Strait of Georgia.

Working with the VENUS project team, Global Marine and OceanWorks will design, manufacture and deploy the Saanich Inlet array. Installation in Saanich Inlet, with landfall at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Patricia Bay, is scheduled for October 2005.

“Global Marine and OceanWorks have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the issues around this installation and what we need them to do,” says Dr. Martin Taylor, UVic’s vice president research. “We look forward to working with them on this project.”

Global Marine, based in England, is an international marine technology and engineering company that specializes in the maintenance of submarine telecom cables. OceanWorks, located in North Vancouver, is a leading international supplier of specialized subsea work systems.

The partners were selected after a rigorous evaluation process. Winning factors included: experience with underwater cabled infrastructure; an interest in commercializing technology developed through the project; and the ability to maximize the science goals of the project. Another key factor was a commitment by the partners to draw on local and B.C. businesses for much of the material, supplies support and skilled personnel.

“Even beyond construction of the underwater array, the VENUS project will provide a focal point for B.C. and Canadian marine technology industries to develop new products, services and expertise that can be exported around the world,” says Taylor.

The Global Marine-OceanWorks contract features many improvements over the initial VENUS design concept, including faster communication rates, higher instrument capacity, and lower maintenance costs.

The second leg of the VENUS network, in the Strait of Georgia, is scheduled for installation in fall, 2006. To meet the project budget, a cable array planned for Juan de Fuca Strait will not be deployed at this time.

VENUS is the shallow-water testbed for the larger North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE) project, which will lay a 3,000-km network of powered fibre-optic cable on the seabed over the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the coasts of B.C., Washington and Oregon. UVic is the Canadian leader of NEPTUNE.

The VENUS project is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund. For more information on the VENUS project visit www.venus.uvic.ca.
Media contacts:
Adrian Round (VENUS Project Manager) at (250) 472-5364 or around@uvic.ca
Dr. Martin Taylor (UVic Vice President Research) at (250) 721-7973
Jim English, (Vice President, OceanWorks) at (604) 986-5600 or jenglish@oceanworks.cc
Deborah Bartlett (Marketing & Communications, Global Marine) at 01245 702105 (England) or Deborah.Bartlett@globalmarinesystems.com
Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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