New owner takes helm
of kamaaina cable ship

The Long Lines was part of
an AT&T unit just sold to
Tyco International

By Russ Lynch

The familiar cable vessel Long Lines, based in Honolulu Harbor for more than 30 years, has new owners.

The ship was part of AT&T Corp.'s submarine systems business which the company sold yesterday for about $850 million to Exeter, N.H.-based Tyco International Ltd.

Among the seven cable ships that New York-based AT&T passed over to Tyco was the Coastal Connector, which earlier this year laid 300 miles of fiber optic cable for GST Telecom Hawaii Inc., connecting Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai.

AT&T said it kept the land facilities that are connected to the undersea system, such as the terminal at Makaha for the trans-Pacific cable.

Tyco, a worldwide manufacturer of medical products, packaging materials, electrical and electronic components and other goods, agreed to the purchase in April.

Combining all of AT&T's underwater cable activities with the manufacturing capacity of Tyco will create a world leader in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of undersea fiber optic telecommunications cables, with estimated revenues of over $1 billion a year, Tyco said.

The 11,300-ton Long Lines, built for AT&T in 1963 at a cost of $19 million, was then the world's largest and most advanced cable ship. It arrived in Honolulu in 1964 and put in place the first telecommunications cable between Oahu and Japan.

Later it laid a new Oahu-California cable, placed the first undersea cable between Oahu and Guam and went on to lay new fiber optic cables on the Pacific sea floor.

Cheryl McCants, a spokeswoman for what is now Tyco's Submarine Systems International subsidiary, said no changes are seen in Hawaii and the transition should be seamless.

With the change, AT&T became a customer of SSI.

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