Seacom could be down for a while

Seacom CEO Mark Simpson has provided an update on the continued problems on the submarine cable system, explaining that multiple cable systems continue to be affected across Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“I know that many of you are keen to know the cause of the outage – it’s a physical cable cut some kilometres north of the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea,” said Simpson.

“[The cause of the cut] is not likely to be known until the cable is repaired in the coming week or two and the damaged section is recovered from the seabed and inspected.”

Mark-Simpson

Mark-Simpson

Simpson said that they suspect, based on their experience with sub-sea systems and the nature of the sea area where the cut has occurred, that the most likely cause is external aggression to the cable most probably by a larger vessel dragging its anchor across the sea bed.

“Unfortunately this remains a common cause of damage to cable systems globally, despite our continued efforts to protect the cable with armour, burying, notifications to ships of cable location and exclusion zones,” said Simpson.

The Seacom CEO said that his team’s focus remains on getting restoration services turned on. “However, this process is proving much more complex and taking longer than we were initially told by our suppliers and would have expected,” said Simpson.

“Whilst we believed we had secured adequate restoration capacity between Egypt and Europe yesterday (Friday), it has since eventuated during today that the physical capability to connect this capacity to our services in Europe is neither adequate nor stable enough.”

“In addition the capacity that may be available is in a long line of activations requested by many carriers (and requiring many hundreds of Gbps) and is not progressing at the rate we, or our customers, need.”

He added that they continue to push for activation as a priority, co-ordinating across a number of carriers internationally.

“However, as this is not providing solutions in the time frame we require, we are also actively seeking new restoration solutions. This will continue to take some time and we are not able to provide timeframes as yet on when services will be restored,” said Simpson.

Seacom cable map 23 March 2013

Seacom cable map

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