Omar Sultan, chief executive of Dubai's Internet Service Provider "DU",
said on Friday that an undersea cable had been cut in the Persian Gulf,
causing severe phone line disruptions and making worse the already existing Internet outage across large parts of the Middle East and West Asia
after two other undersea cables owned by the same British company were
cut this week in the Mediterranean Sea 8.3 kilometers (5 miles) north
of Alexandria, Egypt.
Mr Sultan said that the incident was "very
unusual." He said it was not known how the underwater cable, owned by
British FLAG FALCON company, which runs between the United Arab
Emirates and Oman, had been damaged. DU said in a press release that
the cause of the incident "had not yet been identified."
owner of the FALCON cable, U.K. FLAG Telecom said the cable was cut at
05:59 UTC on Friday, 56 kilometers (35 miles) off the coast of Dubai
and that a "repair ship has been notified and expected to arrive at the
site in the next few days." The British company is also the owner of
one of the undersea cables linking Egypt (Alexandria) with Italy (Palermo) that were sliced
Wednesday in the Mediterranean Sea. That damage triggered wide Internet
outages, hampering businesses and private usage across the Middle East and West
Asia, and cutting off Iran "completely", according to reports.
The only 2 countries that were unaffected were Israel and Iraq
the only two close Anglo-American allies in the region, both remaining
completely unaffected by the cable cuts, leading to theories for the
causes of the cuts, which have so far been given as having been caused
by ships dragging their anchors across the cables. The fact that two
rare incidents have happened in the same week, and both with cables
owned by the same company, on either sides of Israel and the importance
of the Internet to telecommunications and business, lends suspicion to
Agency reports state that a FLAG official in India,
speaking on condition of anonymity because of company policy, said
workers were still trying to determine how the Persian Gulf cable was
cut. Earlier Friday, FLAG said that a repair ship was expected to
arrive Tuesday at the site of the damaged cables off the coast of
Alexandria, and that repair work would likely take a week, but gave no
explanation why repairs would take so long.
FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) is the world's longest privately funded submarine cable. FLAG Telecom
owns undersea communication cables across the United States of America, to England, West Europe and the Middle East, onward to South Asia and the Far East, and again across to the United States thus spanning the northern world.
Egypt's Minister of
Communications and Information Technology Tarek Kamil on Friday said
the reason behind Wednesday's cut undersea cable would only be
determined once repair teams with their robot equipment reach the
damaged cables. --mathaba