Ships Impounded in Middle East Cable Cuts

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Dubai authorities have impounded two ships suspected of damaging undersea telecom cables in the Middle East earlier this year. One of the ships has reportedly been released after paying for the damage. The cable cuts, which disrupted Internet traffic in much of the Middle East, India and Pakistan, sparked a flurry of conspiracy theories that the series of outages in the region were not a coincidence.

Reliance Globalcom, whose FLAG Telecom unit maintains the cables, contacted authorities after studying the satellite images of the ship movements around the area of undersea cable damage. The Hindu reports that Dubai Port Trust officials believe the two ships, MV Hounslow and MT Ann, improperly dropped anchor in the area. The cables then were damaged by “jerks and force of the ship(s)” the port said.

The action was taken after Reliance Globalcom provided details of its analysis of satellite images documenting the ship movements around the area of undersea cable damage. “The matter has been brought to the notice of appropriate authorities which are taking necessary action,” the Reliance Globalcom official told The Hindu.


The National Terror Alert reports that a Korean ship was released after an official admitted that the vessel was in the area and made a payment of $60,000 to compensate FLAG Telecom for repairs. The second ship, which belongs to an Iraqi company, is still being held in Dubai, the report said, quoting Dubai police officials.

For additional history and background, here’s a summary of our previous coverage of this story:

  • Cable Cut Sabotage Rumors Resurface
  • Ship Anchor Caused Dubai Cable Cut
  • Cable Fever and the ‘Fifth Cut’
  • Submarine Cable Repairs Underway
  • Cable Cuts, Coincidences and Conspiracies
  • Egypt: Ships Didn’t Cut Internet Cable
  • Cable Cut Disrupts Middle East Net traffic

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.