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Two ships found responsible for damaging underwater internet cables

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posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:40 AM

Two ships whose anchors damaged an undersea cable in the Gulf have been traced by the cable operating company using satellite imagery. The owners of one vessel have paid compensation for the damage caused, and the second remains impounded by Dubai port authorities.

The Hindu of India (where cable company Reliance is headquartered) reported last week that company officials said they had identified the ships and located both in Dubai.

"The matter has been brought to the notice of appropriate authorities which are taking necessary action," a company officer told The Hindu.

The Khaleej Times reported on Friday that an officer of the Korean-owned MT Ann had admitted liability, and the owners had paid $60,000 compensation to Reliance. The Ann has now been released.

The other vessel, MV Hounslow, remains impounded. The Hounslow is said to be Iraqi owned, and it appears that her captain was not on board when the vessel was seized by Dubai coastguards and police. Two crewmembers who were present have been arrested. Some $350,000 is sought in the case of the Hounslow, which is accused by Reliance of having abandoned its anchor after having tried and failed to get it free of the cable.

I have to admit, that I had almost forgotten this story and remained curious about what had happened. I first found a link to this story off of Global Incident Map, which lists terrorism or suspicious events around the world. But it seems that it wasn't such a thing at all, but just negligence.

And I am surprised that this doesn't seem to be in our (US) news.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:45 AM
And I remember having a too and fro with several members trying to convince them it was anchor damage, not part of some nefarious conspiracy to cut off the ME telecommunications by Israel/USA/UK/Aliens. Several members didn't believe me, despite me advising them I work in Telecoms and my firm is directly involved with the cables concerned.

Sometimes things, no matter how extraordinary they may seem, have a rather mundane explanation.

Glad you posted the article.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:49 AM
Oh, I think we can squeeze a conspiracy out of a captainless Iraqi ship being responsible for one of the breaks.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:53 AM
I would like to add this to the mix also. Which is about the Vietnamese fishermen stealing the cables and selling them.

Alleged fiber-optic cable thieves could face death

Police have filed charges against three ship captains arrested last month for stealing undersea fiber-optic cables off the coast of southern Vietnam.

In all, 43 km of cables have gone missing from two lines in Vietnamese waters this year.

Police in the southern Ba Ria Vung Tau Province Friday asked prosecutors to indict Tran Van Hoang, 46, Tran Van Ke, 42 and Nguyen Dang Quang, 40, on the charge of “destroying major public national security projects,” which carries the death sentence.

Their three ships - all owned by a local businesswoman - were found by the coast guard some 180 km offshore last month. The vessels were holding tons of cables and cutting equipment including saws and ropes.

One of the ships was carrying over 50 tons of cable cut into 1.5-5m sections.

The three captains confessed that they began stealing the cables in March this year.

Eleven kilometers of the TVH (Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong) line and 32 km of the APCN (Asia Pacific Cable Network), linking nine Asian countries, have been stolen.

Now, only one undersea cable – the SMW3 – the world’s longest fiber-optic line, 39,000km (from Germany to Australia and Japan) that connects Vietnam with the rest of the world via the Middle East and Western Europe.

The theft may be partly attributed to the Ba Ria Vung Tau government’s decree last year permitting soldiers and fishermen to haul up unused cables laid before 1975 to sell as scrap.

Amidst the scramble, several fishermen reportedly ‘mistook’ cables in use for unused ones, but Ministry of Post and Telematics officials said that the acts were most likely thefts, not mistakes.

Intensional sabatage?

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:58 AM
I'm not surprised, though I didn't think of it in the context of this story.

I have heard of people stealing phone lines for the copper in the wires. Specially when copper is so high in price right now.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:59 AM
reply to post by deessell

You wouldn't believe how much of a problem this is. A good proportion of our fibre breaks in the UK are down to Pikies digging up cables.

Quite often, they are after copper cables cores, as copper is worth a hell of a lot on the markets, but dig up our fibres instead (they are Pikies, after all.....). They cut into the cable looking for the copper, realise they are dumb and just leave the fibre core exposed in the hole they just left. They can't resell fibre like they can copper, so there isn't much of a need for it once they have destroyed it.

They are quite brazen as well, with several of our node sites being targeted by gangs with heavy earth moving equipment!!

One day I hope they blind themselves on the laser as the repair needed along with the network disruption caused means I actually have to do some work.....

[edit on 19/4/08 by stumason]

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 10:03 AM
I wonder under what bureaucratic mechanism the cable company was able to get archival satellite imagery from that particular area? I know they have access to the data streams at some level. But to be able to 'go back' and look at a some selected given area several day/weeks back implies that they retain this data, no?

I think that's an interesting capability; one that law enforcement around the world could benefit from - and the public should at least have access to this (of course under governmental oversight - just like in this case no?) in order to resolve many cases.

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