West African subsea cables finally repaired


Reports suggest that the West Africa Cable System (WACS) has been repaired this week, leaving just one remaining cable system awaiting repairs

In March this year, four submarine cables situated on the West Coast of Africa – WACS, Sat-3, Ace, and MainOne – were severed near the Ivory Coast, causing major internet issues across the continent.

The exact cause of the damage was unclear, though seismic activity in the region was the primary suspect.

Response by the cable owners was swift, with much of the affected traffic quickly migrated to other neighbouring cables, like Google’s Equiano system. However, disruption remained across the region, notably impacting Microsoft’s data centre operations in South Africa.

To make matters worse, repairing the cables would be far from straightforward. Earlier that same month, a trio of submarine cables had been severed in the geopolitically volatile Red Sea, drawing the attention of the small yet efficient cable repair ship community. This left relevant cable ships not only a continent away from the breaks in West Africa, but also battling through a lengthy permissions process to gain access to the militarily sensitive Red Sea.

As a result, repairs to the damaged Africa cables have faced lengthy delays. Sat-3 was reportedly repaired at the start of April, while repairs to the WACS were only completed on Tuesday.

While no specific announcement appears to have been made, the Ace system also appears to now be operational, according to reports.

The status of the MainOne cable remains unclear, though a cable ship (CS Sovereign) has reportedly been assigned to repair it, a process which should take until May 11.

How is the submarine cable ecosystem evolving in 2024? Join the cable operators in discussion at this year’s Submarine Networks EMEA conference

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