Offshore Innovation News

Keeping you updated on Global Offshore's latest ideas and innovations

At Global Offshore, we are passionate about innovating for the future of trenching and cable laying within the offshore renewables, utilities and the oil & gas sector, through engineering solutions that make a positive difference.

We have a dedicated, in-house innovation team, comprised of people from across all areas of our business. Their main aim is to develop improvements in technology, assets and services that will deliver competitive advantages for our clients.


Global Offshore’s new Pre-lay Plough gives unrivalled single pass capability to minimise operational risk and subsea cable installation time. This is the next generation of subsea ploughs.

The Pre-lay Plough reduces the cost of offshore wind by minimising the operational risk and the time required to install subsea cables. The system offers unrivalled single pass capability delivering boulder clearance and pre-trenching up to 1.7m in a single run, leaving a boulder cleared swathe and a ‘backfill-ready’ open trench with segregated spoil.

Our pre-lay plough’s launch event

Come and join us for the launch of our new subsea asset from 12 noon on Wednesday 3 July 2019, at our Offshore Services Hub, Wimbourne Quay, Blyth. Click on the button below to RSVP.

The Challenges of the Current Cable Laying Market

The challenges of laying and burying an increasing number of ever more sophisticated and fragile power cables further offshore and in difficult seabed conditions, is becoming a pressing issue that is driving technological innovation.

Accelerations in the growth of offshore transmission infrastructure, especially in cable installation at offshore wind farms and the cable interconnector market, means that there is an urgent need to lower costs and increase the reliability of installation.  Therefore the need to find cost effective and efficient solutions delivered by the right assets and personnel, is crucial.

Scoping the Problem

In the renewables market, windfarms are increasingly located further offshore and subsequently we are finding that the seabed has more boulders, boulder clays and glacial tills that standard ploughs find difficult to navigate and effectively work in.

Larger sites and longer cable routes mean that surveys are more expensive to carry out, resulting in reducing data sets, increased uncertainty and requiring tools deployed to be more robust and flexible than ever.

Current subsea cable ploughs are designed to work in a seabed consisting mostly of sands and clays, where the seabed is well known and understood.

The existing process of pre-trenching cable routes and backfilling the seabed, whilst not new, has been refined over the last ten years, but clients are now looking for a solution that will tackle the more challenging environments, achieving burial depths with greater reliability whilst reducing project time and cost.

Global Offshore recently secured a contract with Vattenfall covering inter array cable installation, burial, testing and termination at the 72 turbine Danish Kriegers Flak site, located in the Baltic Sea. The seabed in this location has boulders and heavy clay which, with current technologies, requires time consuming multi-pass boulder clearing and trenching. The implication of using existing ploughing approach are economic and environmental, taking too long and costing too much, whilst producing large amounts of CO2 and NOx.

The Global Offshore innovation team looked at overcoming these issues by designing a new plough for pre-lay trenching.  This new plough would have to be able to clear boulders, surface and subsurface, whilst simultaneously cutting a graduated “Y” shaped trench and depositing the spoil heap to the edges of the trench separate from and inboard of the boulder pile.  This allows the required pre-cable installation intervention on the seabed to be done in a single pass, saving time, costs, fuel and emissions.

The cable is then laid inside the trench, where, depending on conditions and risk profile it may either be left as-is or subject to operations to achieve a required depth of cover.  Depth of cover can be achieved through a combination of backfilling operations to deposit the spoil mounds back into the trench, or by using the Q1400 trenching systems to jet the cable within the trench itself.

Working with Partners

The contract for the plough development and build, was awarded to Osbit who are a world-class specialist bespoke equipment engineering company, delivering solutions for the global oil & gas, subsea and renewable sectors. In collaboration with Global Offshore’s engineering and subsea teams, as well as its first confirmed client, Vattenfall, the pre-lay plough concept was tested using 3D modelling and analytical software to understand its operational ability. This enabled the team to not just model the final design, but to address redundancy issues ahead of time in the design stage, such as robustness and manual overrides in the event of hydraulic failure.

Delivery and Testing of the New PLP240

The plough, named PLP240, has now been built and has recently completed dry dock testing in Blyth. The next steps will be wet testing using a dedicated vessel with an adapted scissor frame attached to the ships A-frame. The plough will be in the splash zone, mid-line water column, and on the seabed, where they will deploy the PLP240 over a range of seabeds. Once trials are finished, the plough will be deployed on the Vattenfall Kreiger Flak project to start in 2020.

Key PLP240 Stats

  • Global Marine Group’s pre-lay plough, the PLP240, will operate in waters up to 500m deep to facilitate a single mode solution for single pass route clearance.
  • Boulders are removed to the area outside the potential back fill spoil and pre-cutting of a “Y” profiled trench up to 1.7m depth for post cable lay project requirements.
  • It has a 200t continuous pull with the ability to remove all boulder from a trench up to 1000mm in size, with “Y” trenches of bases 500mm wide 700mm depth – Y @ 45 degrees in soil types up to 600kPa.

Boulder clearance corridor will be 10m – 16m wide with depth control available in all modes


Global Marine Group has strengthened its subsea services through a partnership with Rovco, to expand its expertise and services to clients.

Through our invested partnership with Rovco, the world’s leading provider of ROV and hydrographic surveys using 3D and AI, Global Offshore provide advancements to the offshore renewables and oil & gas industries through the continuous improvement of available and future-proofed digital technology.

We offer a proactive approach to digital data management, utilising already deployed vessels to optimise existing offshore operations, maximise resource and add value to projects.

We have strategically located vessels, and technical knowledge, to deliver global subsea solutions, responding rapidly to meet client needs.

Partnership Profile – Rovco

Strengthening Subsea Services Through Joint Partnerships

The Global Marine Group has always looked to create partnership with key organisations to strengthen and expand it expertise and services to clients.

Recently Global Marine Group formed an invested partnership with Rovco, the Bristol and Aberdeen based remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and hydrographic services business.

The partnership sees both companies working together to deliver a range of efficient, high-quality subsea solutions. It ensures that GMG and Rovco can continually evolve client-centric subsea solutions, by utilising a combination of innovation and engineering excellence, to deliver a greater range of services to enhance customers’ operations.

What will the Partnership Offer Customers?

Giving customers a greater understanding of their subsea assets will help them to make timely and informed decisions throughout the project lifecycle.
By utilising trend analysis, likely faults on subsea structures as well as within the internal environments, can be identified. Then by applying intelligence to support pre-emptive asset maintenance and fault prediction, effective asset management and maximised integrity can be ensured.

In addition, digital data management using already deployed vessels will optimise existing offshore operations and resources, and add value to projects.

New Projects and Services

Rovco’s latest development, SubSLAM, replaces standard video inspection with live 3D reconstruction technology, to obtain an accurate picture of subsea assets and environments.

SubSLAM enhances the accuracy and repeatability of subsea inspection, producing submillimetric data, and providing actionable information that reduces human error.

Also, by leveraging existing and active GMG vessels, the partnership also streamlines multiple services and optimises current offshore operations to drive down costs and increase efficiencies. The mutually-beneficial partnership is enabling both Rovco and GMG to serve a wider range of customers beyond their established industries.

Rovco and BMG recently completed trials at the London Array offshore wind farm where they undertook test site inspections of the subsea bell mouth.  The test was a success and has opened up further opportunities for Rovco and GMG in the future.





Typical Competitor


Point to Point Accuracy


+-  0.07%


+-  2.3mm


Total Noise (1?)


+-  0.67mm


+-  1.7mm


Error over 1m


+-  4.0mm


+-  4.0mm


Scan Time 2mins, (mobile ROV, 1.2m visibility) 2hrs, stationary multiple scans, in air/good visibility


Come and see us on stand 137. Come and talk us on stand 137 at Global Offshore Wind, 25 – 26 June, ExCeL London.

Project Engineer, Liam McNeil, will be  present on the subsea stage on Wednesday in theSubsea Theatre at 12:30, about minimising operational risk and overall subsea cable installation time utilising new ploughing technology.

Director of Power Cables, Andy Lloyd, will present on Wednesday in the Platinum Suite 3 at 15:15, about power cable maintenance

Throughout the event there will be sharing a handful of posters, presenting more information out our new pre-lay ploughing technology and  our Complete Cable Care solution.


Yes, you can contact meNo, please do not contact me

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google
Privacy Policy and
Terms of Service apply.

Where to find Global Offshore

Global Offshore
Fugro House
Denmore Road
Bridge of Don
AB23 8JW
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1245 702000
Global Marine Group
Ocean House
1 Winsford Way
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1245 702000