Three Men In a Dinghy Cutting Submarine Cables?

March 28th, 2013 by · 3 Comments

Ok, there has to be more to this story but I suppose it’s early yet. Apparently the Egyptian coast guard caught some saboteurs in the act of taking down a submarine cable off the coast of Alexandria. Three divers in an inflatable dinghy with air tanks that look so battered they might have found them on the bottom next to the cable were down there sawing away, apparently.

It is unclear whether this incident or one like it is what took down SEA-ME-WE-4 the other day, or whether an accidental cut in the Arabian Sea was at fault. The region has been having trouble from cable cuts for a week it seems.  Either way, traffic has been shunted to SEA-ME-WE-3 during repairs while Pakistan and others dependent on the connectivity sea slower access.

But what I want to know is why.  Why were three men in a dinghy trying to do this at all?  Clearly they were sophisticated enough to know where to look, but this seems to have been a low budget thing. Was this the first attempt at a new kind of terrorism or piracy?  Or perhaps the big SEA-ME-WE-4 outage a few years back wasn’t quite the accident we thought it was?

Pay us or stop oppressing us or we’ll cut off our own internet access, hmmmm seems a bit dodgy for a strategy either way.  Besides, it’d be less obvious if they like just dropped an anchor and dragged it across a few times ‘accidentally’ than if they were actually down there hacking at it personally.  Ok ok, I’ll stop giving them ideas on better ways to be evil.

But it does further emphasize what a choke point Egypt is for submarine cables right now. The recent terrestrial leg set up by Gulf Bridge International looks somewhat prescient at the moment.

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Categories: Undersea cables

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3 Comments So Far

  • ANONYMOUS says:

    I wonder if they would have grounded the conductor by hacking at it? If so, they would be electrocuted! Those cables are powered.

  • minnehot says:

    They were also caught with scuba gear – these guys were not amateurs and it is not politically motivated. It’s about the money. The undersea cable provides low cost transit for the bulk of the ISP’s in Egypt. Gulf Bridge needs the business and ‘arranged’ for this accident to drum up business…

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