MainOne: Subsea Cable Cut May Take Up to Two Weeks to Repair

MainOne, a submarine cable company, has announced that it may take up to two weeks to repair the undersea cable cut that disrupted internet services in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, and other West African and East African countries since Thursday.
The network outage was caused by a fault on the MainOne network, attributed to an external incident resulting in a cut on the submarine cable system in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote D’Ivoire, along the West African coast.
Telecommunications subscribers and bank users have been stranded since Thursday as the disruption paralyzed digital transactions and internet communications.
Mobile network operators like MTN and some banks have cited the subsea cable cut in the Atlantic Ocean as the cause of the network outage.
On how long the outage would last, MainOne said, “We have a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable.
“First identify and assign a vessel, the vessel has to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair, and then sail to the fault location to conduct the repair work. Next, in order to complete the repair, the affected section of the submarine cable will have to be pulled from the seabed onto the ship where it will be spliced by skilled technicians.
“Post repair, joints will be inspected and tested for any defects and then the submarine cable is lowered back to the seabed and guided to a good position. This process might take 1-2 weeks for repairs while about 2-3 weeks of transit time may be required for the vessel to pick up the spares and travel from Europe to West Africa once the vessel is mobilised.”
Regarding the possible cause of the outage at sea, MainOne said “Most submarine cable faults occur as a result of human activities such as fishing and anchoring in shallow waters near shore, natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and then equipment failure.
“Given the distance from land, and the cable depth of about 3 kms at the point of fault, any kind of human activity – ship anchors, fishing, drilling etc has been immediately ruled out. Our preliminary analysis would suggest some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable, but we will obtain more data when the cable is retrieved during the repair exercise.”
Preliminary analysis suggests some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable.
MainOne assured customers that restoration capacity for temporary relief would be made available, although fully restoring services to all customers might take time due to the unavailability of readily accessible capacity on other cable systems.
“While we do have some pre-configured restoration capacity on other cable systems, unfortunately, those cable systems are also down currently. We have since acquired capacity on available cable systems, but we have not found readily available capacity to fully restore services to all our customers.”
The company stated that actions have been taken to mobilize a vessel to expeditiously repair the cable in the deep ocean, emphasizing its commitment to restoring internet services as quickly as possible.
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