How is subsea traffic being rerouted after Red Sea cable cuts?

How is subsea traffic being rerouted after Red Sea cable cuts?

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Damage to three subsea cables in the Red Sea is requiring internet traffic passing between Europe and Asia to be rerouted.

HGC Communications, a telecom operator in Hong Kong, reported yesterday that it was rerouting traffic, after the Seacom/TGN, AAE-1 and EIG cables were cut, estimating that 25% of traffic is disrupted.

HGC’s measures include rerouting northbound traffic from Asia via China to Europe, routing through the US to Europe and diversifying its West bound traffic through the other 11 cables that run through the Red Sea.

Seacom confirmed the damage to CNN, with chief digital officer Prenesh Padayachee saying repair works could take up to eight weeks to commence while permits from the Yemeni maritime authority are issued

Tata Communications said in a statement to Capacity that it has been keeping a close watch on the situation and initiated immediate and appropriate remedial actions.

“We invest in various cable consortiums to increase our diversity and hence in such situations of a cable cut or snag we are able to automatically reroute our services, thereby ensuring our customers have a stable, reliable and scalable connectivity,” Tata said.

In response to the outages, Roderick Beck, global network capacity sourcing at United Cable Company said everyone is looking for wavelengths on the SMW5 cable that links Singapore to Marseille.

“I am seeing tremendous demand for alternative subsea cable capacity from Marseille to Singapore,” he told Capacity.

“Within 24 hours of the Red Sea outages, almost two terabits of SMW5 capacity was reserved on two Asian carrier backbones,” he added.

On the timeline for repairs Beck said:

“There are reports that ships are on the way to repair the cables. Probably not true. First of all, you need an available ship and most are already at sea laying fibre optic or power cables.”

“Secondly, a ship must return to the port where the spare fibre is stored and retrieve it. Every subsea cable has a storage depot where as much as 60 kilometers of spare fibre is kept for repairs, slack, and extensions.”

“Then the repair ship must set sail, locate the point of damage, and fix it. In this case the repair ship must also arrange military escort as well and that is a low priority for the navies patrolling the Red Sea.”

AAE-1 is a 25,000km consortium cable system connecting South East Asia to Europe via Egypt, with nineteen operators as members, including TeleYemen.

The EIG (Europe India Gateway) cable connects the UK to India, via Mediterranean Europe, and is owned by sixteen operators.

Speculation is rife that the Rubymar cargo ship, a UK vessel struck by a Houthi rebel missile is responsible for the damage.

“Since the Rubymar went to its watery grave early Saturday morning local time, I suspect the immediate threat of more outages has passed,” Beck said.

The Yemen-based and Iranian-backed Houthi’s have been targeting ships in response to the Israeli offensive against Palestine.

Industry sources are reporting that the ships anchor could have been dragging across the seabed before it sunk on Saturday, damaging cables in the process.

Last week, Yemen’s government said it was keen to ensure that telecom cables were not damaged and would provide facilities for damaged cables to be repaired and maintained.

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