With Tasmania's internet still operating at much-reduced capacity, all eyes have been on Basslink to find the fault in the main undersea cable connecting the island to the Australian mainland. That problem has now been found, but full repairs are almost three months away from completion.
According to Basslink, the fault in the undersea cable was found just over 90 kilometres from the Tasmanian coastline, just over a kilometre from the location that the cable laying ship Ile de Ré initially dug up and raised the cable to the surface.
That location was found through Basslink's own analytics on the cable while still buried, and was narrowed down to a few kilometres' distance along the Bass Strait; with 63 tonnes of cable now raised and cleared, Basslink's next job is to replace a large segment of damaged cable.
"Water got in" — just about as detailed an explanation as "the front fell off" — is Basslink's simple explanation for the additional delay. The degree of the cable damage, although not at a joint, was enough to require that an additional section of cable be removed, requiring a third joint.
The extra cable for the extended repair work will have to be picked up by the Ile de Ré in Geelong, which will then return to the cable break site and begin repairs. With poor weather likely and more contingencies in place, Basslink is pushing off its official estimate for a return to service from May until "mid-June".