Thursday, July 13, 2017

Somalia Detains Ship That Caused Internet Outage, Demands Compensation
Abdur Rahman
Alfa Shaban

Somalia has detained a ship alleged to have cut undersea fibre optic cables and plunging the country into a state of internet blackout.

The Horn of Africa nation has for the past two weeks been without internet connection after the MSC Alice vessel reportedly cut undersea cables. The vessel had brought goods to a port in the capital Mogadishu when the accident occurred.

Somalia’s Attorney General confirmed to the BBC that the vessel is being held in Somali waters and that the country was also demanding compensation from the losses that they have incurred since the incident.

“Whoever was involved in this incident will be tried and the company that belongs to the ship that was involved in cutting the undersea cable is required to pay for the loss,” Ahmed Ali Dahir is quoted to have said.

According to him, the outage costs the country $10m each day, he however did not state how much compensation Somalia will be pushing for.

A Voice of America (VOA) journalist, Harun Maruf, weeks back that the internet outage had taken a toll on activities in the country. He cited the media, businesses and government offices as those worse affected by the situation.

Reports indicated that many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country rely on the affected cable line resulting in internet and fixed voice service providers going down.

The journalist further reported that engineers had been dispatched from Oman to repair the cables but it is not clear when connection will be restored. It is also said to have affected money transfer transactions especially as it happened during the end of Ramadan period.

The most recent African country to suffer a similar challenge was Congo-Brazzaville, who had their internet disrupted for over two weeks owing to a fibre optic cable cut.

Connection was restored on Saturday (June 24) after 15 days of nationwide disruptions and slowdowns that started since June 9, 2017, after a damage to the country’s main submarine cables.

The restoration was far ahead of the five-week projected period given by the technical team working on the cut cable. Network providers confirmed days after the outage that the problem was caused by a submarine cable cut off in the Atlantic Ocean near the economic capital Pointe-Noire.

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