Updated Sunday 9.34am

The survey ship Polar King has arrived on a site 16km off Sicily to assess the damage caused to the undersea power cable between Sicily and Malta.

It is deploying a remote-operated vehicle to transmit footage which will be immediately assessed by engineers from Enemalta and cable supplier Nexans who are on board.

The survey is expected to take around 36 hours.

"This process is critical since it will provide Enemalta plc with a clear picture of the damage to the interconnector between Malta and Sicily," the company said.

The engineers will then determine what needs to be done for repairs to be carried out in the shortest possible time. 

The cable has been out of action since the damage was caused, probably by a ship’s anchor, two days before Christmas.

The damage led to a nationwide blackout lasting several hours, as well as a few more limited power outages over the past few weeks. It has forced Enemalta to power up all turbines to reduce the extent of interruptions until the problem is solved, at a cost of €150,000 a day.

The survey itself will cost the energy provider €1 million. 

The survey will cost the energy provider €1m

The damaged part of the interconnector lies in international waters off Ragusa in Sicily, at around 150 metres under the surface of the sea. 

The 110-metre survey ship left Palma de Mallorca on Thursday.  

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