Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obvious Statement of the Week Award

Six cables damaged in under two weeks and you think it may have been the work of saboteurs? At least the story is getting out there.

Undersea Saboteurs May Have Been Responsible For Cable Cuts

Some highlights:

Reports from those vessels have apparently indicated that the may not have been caused by accident or through natural events. According to the ITU's (International Telecom Union) head of development, Sami al-Murshed, "We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago,"

"Do not rule out," doesn't carry quite the same weight as "have proof of sabotage," but of the five cable cuts, only one (the link between the UAE and Oman) is definitely established to have been an accident. There are doubts regarding the others, as some experts feel that the cables were too deep to be cut and lie outside of normal shipping lanes. The short period of time between the other four failures may also be indicative of deliberate action, as its unusual for multiple critical cable breaks to occur that close together. Four of the five cables have been repaired at this point the repair status of the fifth cable is unknown.

Just because an abandoned anchor was found at the damaged point of one cable doesn't mean that it was an accident. It is possible that one of the cables providing connectivity was damaged by accident on the same day that another, distant, cable providing connectivity to the Middle East was also damaged, but somehow I doubt it. I don't know who or what was behind the cable breaks, but six cables down in under two weeks is not an accident, especially compared to the previous record - the last serious damage to a cable was in 2006, when an earthquake disrupted (just) one cable serving parts of Asia.

The damaged anchor discovered at the site of one of damaged cables.
This photo comes from the
FLAG website, two of FLAG's cables being among those damaged.

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