Ship's anchor cut Gulf internet cable

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CAIRO: A ship’s anchor severed one of the undersea internet cables damaged last week, causing outages that continue to affect business across the Middle East and South Asia, the cable’s owner said on Thursday.

India’s FLAG telecom said in a statement that the cut to the Falcon cable between the United Arab Emirates and Oman “is due to a ship anchor … an abandoned anchor weighing five to six tons was found.

FLAG said the repair work on the cable, which broke on Feb. 1, was continuing despite rough weather and was expected to be completed by Sunday.

The company said that repair work to its other Flag Europe Asia cable, one of two that were cut off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, was continuing and would also be completed by Sunday.

Technicians aboard the repair ship were using remotely operated submarine vehicles to check the damage.

There was no immediate word on the state of repairs to the second severed Mediterranean cable, SEA-ME-WE4.

The damage to the three cables caused widespread disruption to internet and international telephone services in Egypt, Gulf Arab states and South Asia.

A fourth cable linking Qatar to the United Arab Emirates was also damaged causing yet more disruption, telecommunication provider Qtel said.

Earlier reports said that the damage had been caused by ships that had been diverted from their usual route because of bad weather.

Egypt has already excluded ships as the cause of damage to the Mediterranean cables thanks to footage recorded by onshore video cameras of the location of the cables which showed no traffic in the area when the cables were damaged. -AFP

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