Undersea Cable Cut Disrupts Internet Connectivity in Europe, Middle East and Asia

by OldSailor on December 22, 2008


Damage caused to three undersea cables on December 19, has disrupted internet connectivity between Europe, Middle East and Asia. Cable damages are cable_ship_raymond_croze taking place almost every year. Cableship C/S Raymond Croze from France Telecom Marine is expected to reach the location to inspect and to undertake cable repair. It may take about 7-10 days for completion of cable repair.

Some of the disturbing features of undersea cable damages are:

  • Cables damaged are:Sea Me We 4 (SMW 4), Sea Me We 3 (SMW 3) and FLAG EA.
  • Damage is reported to be under the Mediterranean between Italy and Egypt.
  • Around 75 million people from 14 countries are affected by the current problem.
    • Maldives: 100% out of service
    • India: 82% out of service
    • Qatar: 73% out of service
    • Djibouti: 71% out of service
    • United Arab Emirates: 68% out of service
    • Zambia: 62% out of service
    • Saudi Arabia: 55% out of service
    • Egypt: 52% out of service
    • Pakistan: 51% out of service
    • Malaysia: 42% out of service
    • Taiwan: 39% out of service
    • Yemen: 38% out of service
    • Syria: 36% out of service
    • Lebanon: 16% out of service
  • In the past damages have taken place on January 20, 2007 due to Taiwan Earthquake and on January 30, 2008 in Mediterranean Region.

SEA-ME-WE 3 Cable (South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe): SEA_ME_WE_3

  • In operation from end-2000.
  • Used by 92 International Carriers.
  • Includes 39 landing points in 33 countries and 4 continents from Western Europe (including Germany, England and France) to the Far East (including China, Japan and Singapore) and to Australia.
  • The longest system in the world with a total length of 39,000 km.
  • Meets the traffic needs of the new technologies such as broadband services, Internet, video services and ATM.

SEA-ME-WE 4 Cable (South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe):

  • Cable length is approximately 20,000 km.
  • Divided into four segments with seventeen landing points.
  • The project supports telephone, internet, multimedia and various broadband data applications.
  • Cable layout is given below.


FLAG Europe-Asia Cable

  • Owned by Reliance Globalcom.
  • Cable length is 28,000 km.
  • Cable layout is in the map below as pdf document.


Causes of undersea cable faults

It can be seen from the graph below that most of the undersea cable damages are due to fishing activity, cut by ships anchor. Also most of the cable damages are noticed in shallow waters in the bays or straits close to intense maritime activity.


Read more about undersea cables and maintenance here as pdf document.

For more information on cableships, log on to France Telecom Marine.

View here an interesting animated video clip on how undersea cable cut is identified and rectified.

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Super Luxury Yacht of Saddam Hussein goes for Sale

Update: December 30

Italian cableship, Teliri completed the repair on the Flag Europe Asia (FEA) cable on December 29, at 14:15 GMT as scheduled.  Customer services that were affected due to the cable cut have been restored to normalcy with the completion of repairs. Read more from Domain-b.

Details about cableship Teliri is at Elettra Submarine Systems.

The Sea Me We 4 cable system is expected to be repaired by January 05, 2009 and there is no timeline available for the Sea Me We 3 repair completion. Read more from Reliance Globalcom.

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