Fibre-optic cable repairs to be completed by mid-November


Mr ChoppyThis was said by the principal secretary for information communications technology Benjamin Choppy yesterday afternoon while updating the media on the events following the damaging of the cable, which happened last week off the coast of Tanzania.

Mr Choppy said, according to the investigation, a 200-metre long cargo ship had dropped an anchor on the cable at around 10km from the shore, and had severed it, cutting off services to Seychelles.

“We have already mobilised a ship to pick up the necessary spare parts, and security and to go do repair work on the cable, and we expect that all will be completed at around November 20-22,” he said.

“We have already carried out tests and located the exact place where the damage is, which is 10km from the shore and at 35km depth, and once the ship gets there, repair work will start immediately.”

The Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS) in charge of the project has already indentified the ship responsible for the incident, and has contracted a legal team to handle the negotiations on compensation from the shipping line.

Mr Choppy said first contact has already been made, and that they are now building a case to know what exactly happened that day, but he declined to give more details due to the legal implications of the matter.

He also said that having a second fibre-optic cable as a backup would have been an ideal option for Seychelles, except that such a plan requires a large capital investment, but it is one they are nonetheless looking into.

“We cannot say for now how much the repairs will cost, but it will be significant,” he said. 
Mr Choppy had recently accompanied Vice-President Danny Faure on a visit to Dubai for a conference, and had seized the opportunity to meet and have discussions with the chief executive and also the chairman of the E-Marine Company, to which SEAS has contracted its marine operations and repairs.

He added that they are now working with the relevant authorities, especially the Tanzanian ministry for Information Communication Technology, to ensure that there is better surveillance of the area where the cable lies.

He added that there is normally an exclusion zone around each cable or oil pipeline, which he said the cargo ship had entered illegally when it severed the cable.

Mr Choppy said fibre-optic cable cuts are not an uncommon event to happen, and said that the E-Marine company are reporting as many as three cable cuts per month, although with Seychelles having only one cable, this is a costly and harmful event to the country’s development.