THE disruption of telecommunication services by both Our Telekom and Bmobile to the Western, Choiseul and Malaita Provinces this week was caused by a fishing vessel anchor, the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) has advised.
SISCC said, “On 10 May at around 12.45 pm, the Solomon Islands Domestic network cable was damaged by a fishing vessel anchor, cutting all services between Honiara and Auki, Noro and Taro. The vessel illegally anchored within the no-anchoring zone delimited by the four yellow marker buoys west of the port of Honiara.”
“SISCC are working with their Marine Maintenance contractors to arrange a specialist repair vessel to attend the fault and repair the cable. Unfortunately, it is expected that the cable will be out of service for several weeks until the repair can be scheduled. Until that time SISCC wholesale customers will be seeking temporary satellite capacity to return a level of service to their customers,” it added.
SISCC said fortunately, the international cable to Sydney was not impacted by this event and services from Honiara are unaffected.
“This unfortunate incident illustrates the critical necessity of adherence to the no anchoring zones around the cable system. The submarine cable route and a protection zone boundary around the cable are included on all maritime charts of the Solomon Islands. Maritime police and SIMA are investigating the conduct of the vessel and SISCC will be pursuing costs for the damage and repair from them,” it added.
SISCC said further updates will be provided once the timeframe for the repair has been determined.