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Communications Networking The Internet

Ship Anchor Damages African Undersea Cables 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-you-tried-turning-it-off-and-then-on-again dept.
New submitter Bastian227 writes "A ship anchoring in a restricted area disrupted an East African high-speed Internet connection. The damaged fiber optic cable is one of three new undersea cables in the area off Kenyan coast. Repairs could take up to 14 days. 'The Teams cable had been rerouting data from three other cables severed 10 days ago in the Red Sea between Djibouti and the Middle East. Together, the four fiber-optic cables channel thousands of gigabytes of information per second and form the backbone of East Africa's telecom infrastructure. Telecom companies were reeling over the weekend as engineers attempted to reroute data south along the East African coast and around the Cape of Good Hope.'"
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Ship Anchor Damages African Undersea Cables

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  • yay (Score:5, Funny)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Monday February 27, 2012 @05:46PM (#39178047) Homepage
    no more Nigerian scams!
  • Duh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Considering Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda being more Western friendly and advanced over their neighbors it makes them hot spots for radical islamic groups. I'm sure all the new updated monitoring hardware on the other servered cables will be matched here as well.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Considering Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda being more Western friendly and advanced over their neighbors it makes them hot spots for radical islamic groups. I'm sure all the new updated monitoring hardware on the other servered cables will be matched here as well.

      I recall a political science class with a circular diagram... something about extreme fascism and extreme socialism going about achieving their ends using the same methods. Ironic these people are so in favor of going backward 1,600 years and using all this modern, western developed technology to do a lot of their communicating - they pass it off as more 'Ends justifying the means' BS Hard for me to consider them anything more than they really are on the surface - murderers, power hungry, dictatorial, et

      • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by idontgno (624372) on Monday February 27, 2012 @06:23PM (#39178531) Journal

        To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

        -- Douglas Adams

      • I recall a political science class with a circular diagram... something about extreme fascism and extreme socialism going about achieving their ends using the same methods

        Correct. Fascism and socialism are two sides of the same coin. It goes by the name of statism. Statism is pure unabashed *evil* and should be fought with the sacrifice of blood from every man, women, and child whom values freedom. You just don't earn freedom for life. You must always act as a counter force to maintain it. For civil nations

  • by exploder (196936) on Monday February 27, 2012 @05:48PM (#39178061) Homepage

    Another bunch of accidental cable disruptions clustered in space and time? Am I paranoid to wonder if something's going on here? Or is it like how earthquakes get more press when they come in bunches?

    • Or it could be that African captains can't read the "No Ship Parking" signs.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Same conspiracy theory got floated when Egypt's internet got cut several times in as many weeks. I believe it was chalked up to the fact that ship anchors tend to drag on the bottom until they catch on something, which also happens to be a major threat to coral reefs everywhere as well as undersea cables and pipelines.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Another bunch of accidental cable disruptions clustered in space and time? Am I paranoid to wonder if something's going on here? Or is it like how earthquakes get more press when they come in bunches?

      Dang.. where's that quote about never ascribing something to conspiracy where idiocy will suffice ... too many nostrums around here these days, can't keep it all straight.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday February 27, 2012 @06:38PM (#39178751)

        where's that quote about never ascribing something to conspiracy where idiocy will suffice

        It is Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org], though it says to never attribute to malice that what can easily be explained by stupidity.

        I would say that an undersea cable being cut isn't newsworth on its own, but cut a bunch in the same place in roughly the same time and it becomes news. The cables are cut all the time (I do wonder if the ship that cuts the cable has to pay the bill for repairs?) but a lot of the time it is possible to simply re-route and there isn't too much hassle.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          (I do wonder if the ship that cuts the cable has to pay the bill for repairs?)

          Off the coast of Africa, the odds are slim that anyone dumb enough to drop anchor on a cable will be able to afford to pay for the repair.

          Just like everything else, the cable owners have insurance that covers this type of thing.
          Their premiums will eventually be high enough that they'll be paying for repairs out of pocket.

          • by grahamm (8844)

            The cable owners should claim against the ship, whose owners in turn claim off their third party liability insurance. Should it not be the same as a road accident where if a car or truck damages your property (either your vehicle or it hits your wall/house etc) then you claim from the driver/vehicle owner and the claim is paid by their insurance.

    • It's just statistics (probably). The Atlantic ocean alone average 50 damaged cables a year, you're going to have times where cables are breaking one day after another without pushing into anything statistically significant. Take 50 people in a room and ask them their birthdays, odds are (very, very) high you'll find two that share, it doesn't mean anything. You'll find several groups who all share birthdays on within the a week of each other. It doesn't mean anything other than humans are bad at thinkin

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Takes me back to Iran 2008 when all of the fiber cables going in to Iran got 'accidentally' severed at once. Huge denials about there being anything more than an unfortunate coincidence, yet not long afterwards when Iran held their elections there was a wave of twitter led demos contesting the result (the result was subsequently found to be correct by that Carter mob) All sorts of co ordinated net led attacks on Iranian government. Afterwards it becomes public that Congress had thrown a coupla hundred mi

    • They lie. It was that same elderly Georgian woman, scavenging in scuba gear.

      See? Not that much of a coincidence.

    • by QX-Mat (460729)

      Of course [nytimes.com]... It's getting silly now :(

    • The National Reconnaissance Office needed to tap in again. If you splice into a cable that is active, people would notice. A lot of U.S. intellegence agencies want to know what is going on in the Middle East. The NRO and the Navy get the job.

      I wish they would think of a more original excuse.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Another bunch of accidental cable disruptions clustered in space and time? Am I paranoid to wonder if something's going on here? Or is it like how earthquakes get more press when they come in bunches?

      A good time to take back the Internets [slashdot.org]?

      </sarcasm>

    • Story Time! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by IonOtter (629215)

      When I was in the Navy, on Oahu, a friend of mine was a research assistant and professor at University of Hawai'i on Oahu. They were doing research on the Hawaiian Monk Seal, and had to attach fake rocks with electronic gear to the reef.

      They were working in 300 feet of water, which is extremely deep for SCUBA, and highly dangerous even with mixed gasses. Bottom time is around 15 minutes, and deco times are in hours. Because of this, they needed to be near a decompression chamber in case of an emergency,

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Together, the four fiber-optic cables channel thousands of gigabytes of information per second

    They're called petabytes.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Together, the four fiber-optic cables channel thousands of gigabytes of information per second

      They're called petabytes.

      Sure. I know this. You know this. But if you say 'Peta' anything the media think you're against animal abuse.

      • PETA can BITE my shiny metal ass.

      • Together, the four fiber-optic cables channel thousands of gigabytes of information per second

        They're called petabytes.

        Sure. I know this. You know this. But if you say 'Peta' anything the media think you're against animal abuse.

        The media think now? When did this happen?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2012 @06:14PM (#39178423)

      No sir. They are called terabytes [wikipedia.org].

      • Who cares what they're called. How many floppy disks does it take to hold them and under how many Olympic size swimming pools of water are those cables submerged?
    • by mooingyak (720677) on Monday February 27, 2012 @06:24PM (#39178559)

      Together, the four fiber-optic cables channel thousands of gigabytes of information per second

      They're called petabytes.

      Petabytes would be millions of gigabytes. For this one we go with terabytes.

    • That's a geek fail so hard I would've wasted mod points on an AC for once. Do me a favor and don't code any metric-to-standard NASA subroutines.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      "Gigabyte" is still the standard for the layperson. "More gigabytes" is better than "less gigabytes". If you ask the layperson what a terabyte is, they'll probably have no idea.

      • "Gigabyte" is still the standard for the layperson. "More gigabytes" is better than "less gigabytes". If you ask the layperson what a terabyte is, they'll probably have no idea.

        Perhaps, but some of us remember when Slashdot's readership could handle jargon more advanced than that you'd find on CNN.

    • I thought it was terabytes. But that still doesn't sound as impressive as "thousands of gigabytes" or better yet "billions of kilobytes"

  • Oh noez (Score:5, Funny)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Monday February 27, 2012 @05:52PM (#39178137) Homepage
    So the internet is now leaking cats into the red sea?
  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@dr u n k snipers.com> on Monday February 27, 2012 @05:54PM (#39178161) Homepage

    Now all those bits and bytes are now flowing into the sea

  • How can they make their ransom demands known without the modern benefit of high speed digital traffic on fibre?

    Perhaps they could mail them the old fashioned way.

  • Glad to see Slashdot is consistant.
    • Since you didn't reply the comment you are trolling, I have to assume you are referring to the joke about "no more Nigerian scams!"

      Actually, I believe they are Nigerian scams because they originate from Nigeria. Also, Nigerian people are referred to as Nigerians because they are from Nigeria. I don't really see how race plays any part in those two facts.
      • The racism is bring up Nigerian Scams just because an article has something to do with Africa. Also Nigeria is on Africa's west coast so it is not East Africa at all.
      • Because black people are from Africa. Any time you point out something bad about any area which is primarily black you are automatically a racist. It's actually a method used, ironically, by racists to project their hate onto someone else.

        Nevermind that Nigeria is in Africa, and that no one said anything like "See all those black people will have to stop trying to scam us whites now that they have no Internet connection."

        The pseudo-intellectual trendies on here will always try to point out some grand
        • by mydn (195771)

          Because black people are from Africa.

          All people are from Africa.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            All people are from Africa.

            I'm not, and neither are my black and Asian friends. We're from the US. Our distant anscestors are from Africa, not us.

            Pedantry right back at ya.

  • The Nigerian Scam spam seems to have fallen off a bit. I guess I'll just have to wait a little longer for those funds to arrive.

    • My name is Abu Mkumbu. I am writing to you as the director of the national Kenyan cable and Internet company. I am asking your assistance in the following matter. I was trying to move funds from my great grand fathers estate via electronic transfer, when a ship tore the cable that holds the secure bank line to my swiss bank account. Since I have no more access to my swiss bank account, I need someone trustworthy to assist me in getting these funds (US$14,113.142.78) out of my inflation ridden country. As a
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, like terabytes then, right?

  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Monday February 27, 2012 @06:37PM (#39178731)
    What exactly does "restricted area" mean in this case? If this means ships are prohibited from dropping anchor there and the ship did anyway, what is the consequence to the captain and ship owner? Loss of license for the captain for violating restricted area? Jail time for vandalism? Ship's owner on the hook for the cost of repair? Seems like if this sort of thing is becoming common than some severe punishment might encourage others to be more careful in the future...especially if it means loss of career and/or freedom for the captain and significant loss of money to the owner.
  • Cape of %4^af#53fe$^[[CARRIER LOST]]
  • Funny I was looking at this article on another aggregator (why is /. always so behind?) and so went digging and found these:

    Here's one [youtube.com] (skip ahead to 1:40) and this is the other one [youtube.com].

    • by EnempE (709151)
      "Hey, you scratched my anchor !"
      Do you think they will be bold enough to sue for damage to their anchor ?
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich @ a o l.com> on Monday February 27, 2012 @09:12PM (#39180671) Journal

    You know that game where you drop a quarter into a fish tank and try to get it to fall into a shot glass to win a prize?

    Somehow they keep dropping anchors through 5000 feet of water to hit a cable a few inches in diameter laying on the ocean floor.

    • by tokul (682258)

      Somehow they keep dropping anchors through 5000 feet of water to hit a cable a few inches in diameter laying on the ocean floor.

      You drop the anchor or fishing net, start dragging it on ocean floor and you hit the line on the floor some day in some place.

  • S which East African nation are we invading next?

  • are doomed to repeat splicing. Seriously; how can any 'professional' still be designing undersea cabling having no shallows protection against anchor strikes, regardless the intent? Lowest bidder effect? Immorally lucrative service contract? What?

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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