GCX Falcon, FEA telecoms cables back in service in Red Sea

GCX’s Falcon and FEA cables back in service in the Red Sea

24 February 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Two cables cut near Suez in early January are now back in service.

Falcon, between Muscat and Suez, and FEA – formerly known as FLAG Europe-Asia – between Mumbai and Suez were both cut near Port Suez in the Red Sea on 9 January.

Capacity reported at the time that the break in the two cables was caused by “an anchor drag by a large merchant vessel in the immediate area”.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), which owns the cables, called in E-Marine. The cable repair ship arrived in Egypt on 5 February for clearances and final permits.

Now both are working again. Falcon was out of action in that segment for 35 days 8 hours and was back in action on 13 February – after E-Marine detected and repaired two separate faults over a 900m section of cable.

E-Marine then turned to FEA and started work on 15 February, completing work at the end of last week.

Traffic to Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen were affected by the cuts, according to reports.

GCX’s Falcon runs 10,300km from Suez, along the Red Sea and around the Gulf, finishing at Mumbai. It went into service in 2006. The same company’s FEA went into service in 1997 and runs 28,000km from Porthcurno in the UK to Miura in Japan. It is “one of the longest submarine cable systems in the world”, says GCX.

Until last year GCX was owned by Reliance Communications (RCom) of India. After bankruptcy protection and a financial restructuring, it is now a separate company, owned by its former creditors.