Undersea cable cut: Mainone declares force majeure, takes steps for restoration 

BRANDPOWER reports that MainOne, an Equinix company, is one of the leading data centre and connectivity solution provider with presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Undersea cable cut: Mainone, declares force majeure, takes steps for restoration 

Undersea cable cut: mainone, declares force majeure, takes steps for restoration MainOne, a Digital Infrastructure Service Provider on Friday declared a force majeure, and explained  steps taken to restore internet connection to service providers.

Mainone said in a statement on its website that it became necessary to declare a force majeure subsequent to testing of its cable system.

It said that data from the preliminary assessment of the cable system indicated some underwater activity was the likely cause of disruptions to the system.

It said that commercial contracts typically included such a force majeure  clause which enabled service providers to suspend contractual obligations for the duration of such disruptions.

BRANDPOWER reports that a force majeure is an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract.

The unforeseen circumstances maybe natural disasters (fire, storms, floods), or governmental or societal actions (war, invasion, civil unrest, labour strikes), or infrastructure failures (transportation, energy).

BRANDPOWER reports that telecommunications companies and banks in Nigeria were on Thursday hit by an internet outage as a result of damage to international undersea cables supplying them connectivity.

According to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the damage affects major undersea cables near Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and is causing downtime across West and South African countries.

The NCC said that the cuts occurred somewhere in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, with an attendant disruption in Portugal.

It said that cable companies – West African Cable System (WACS) and African Coast to Europe (ACE) in the West Coast route from Europe – had experienced faults, while SAT3 and MainOne had downtime.

The regulatory body added that similar undersea cables providing traffic from Europe to the East Coast of Africa, like Seacom, Europe India Gateway (EIG), Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE1), were said to have been cut at some point around the Red Sea.

This, it said, resulted in degradation of services across these routes.

Mainone said that nonetheless, it was working to restore services to as many of its customers as possible and to complete the repairs to the cable system in record time.

“We believe it is important to inform our customers of the fault details given the magnitude of the situation to set expectations and make contingency arrangements while the repairs are ongoing.

‘’We experienced a fault on the MainOne network, preliminary findings and further investigations revealed that the fault occurred due to an external incident.

”That external incident resulted in a cut on our submarine cable system in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote D’Ivoire, along the coast of West Africa.

“However, we have a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable,’’ the statement said.

According to the telecom service provider, the steps to be taken include first identifying and assigning a vessel to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair, and then sailing to the fault location to conduct the repair work.

It said that the next step to complete the repair involved the affected section of the submarine cable being pulled from the seabed onto the ship where it would be spliced by skilled technicians.

Mainone said that post repair, joints would be inspected and tested for any defects and then the submarine cable lowered back to the seabed and guided to a good position.

According to the statement, the repair process may take one week to two weeks, and about two weeks to three weeks transit time required for the vessel to pick up the spares and travel from Europe to West Africa, once the vessel is mobilised.

The statement explained that most submarine cable faults occurred as a result of human activities such as fishing, or anchoring in shallow waters near the shore, or natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and then equipment failure.

Mainone said that given the distance from land, and the cable depth of about three kms at the point of fault, any kind of human activity – ship anchors, fishing, drilling among others had been ruled out.

It said that preliminary analysis suggested that some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable but more data would be obtained, after the cable’s retrieval during the repair exercise.

The service provider noted that the cable cut was not likely to be intentional given the location and depth of the cable, adding that as indicated earlier it had strong indications on probable cause.

MainOne said that it was working with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to deploy the vessel and was unable to provide more information at this time.

It said that the cable cut had disrupted international services on its cable south of the landing in Senegal, resulting in the outage of internet services for majority of its customers.

“We recognise the impact of the outage and are working tirelessly to make available restoration capacity for temporal relief where feasible.

“We have some pre-configured restoration capacity on other cable systems, unfortunately those cable systems are also down currently.

“We have since acquired capacity on available cable systems but we have not found readily available capacity to fully restore services to all our customers,’’ Mainone said.

The statement added that MainOne had some restoration agreements with other operators to mitigate service disruptions, but unfortunately those cable systems were also impacted by outages at this time.

“It is believed that MainOne submarine cable carries a significant portion of the international traffic into West Africa and provides services to multiple countries hence the magnitude of the impact.

“We are actively restoring services to the extent possible and mobilising a vessel for repairs and will update once there are more details,” it said.

The statement added that MainOne cable are very well protected as could be seen from the number of incidences on its cable system since inception in 2010.

According to the statement, MainOne  has taken a lead in West Africa in championing the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), and organising submarine cable owners associations in Nigeria and Ghana.

It said its activities were to promote awareness of the strategic benefits of submarine cables, and proactive regulations and measures to minimise submarine cable damage.

‘’We are very optimistic that our cable will be repaired as planned and services fully restored so that we can continue to operate with continued integrity of the submarine cable,” it said.

BRANDPOWER reports that MainOne, an Equinix company, is one of the leading data centre and connectivity solution provider with presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.