Operations are underway to repair three undersea telecommunications cables that were damaged in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend, disrupting telephone and Internet service in parts of the Middle East and south Asia. However, this time the cause of the cable cuts is suspected to be a ship’s anchor, rather than a deliberate act or terrorism or sabotage.
The damage to the FLAG, SEA-ME-WE4, and SEA-ME-WE3 cables occurred late Friday; by Sunday a remotely-operated submarine robot was being used to locate and assess the damage to the cables. It’s possible a ship anchor could have dragged the cables some distance from their proper locations. Once the damage areas have been located an identified, the remote robot will bring the cables up to a repair ship which will repair the damage and then re-lay the cables on the ocean floor.
The three cables are owned by different operators, but all lie in the same area. Cable cuts in early 2008 took place in disparate locations in the Mediterranean and southeast Asia over the span of a few days, leading some to suspect the cables had been deliberately sabotaged.
Both sets of cable cuts disrupted telecommunications and Internet service through portions of the Middle East, India, south Asia, and as far away as Taiwan, although most regions currently report alternative connectivity arrangements have been set up to enable communications until the cables are restored.
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