Internet access threatened as ship destroys undersea cable

Nigeria and other African countries could face serious disruption of internet access soon due to the damage of a number of submarine fibre optic cables landing on the continent by a ship ferrying agricultural goods from Kenya to Nigeria.

The ship, which departed Mombasa, Kenya at 11pm, East African Time on Monday, damaged several undersea cables namely TEAMs, SEACOM, SEAS, Lion2, EASSy, SACS, WACS and ACE.

The development means that the entirety of the African coastline from Mombasa to Lagos, and a large number of landlocked countries dependent on these cables, could be without internet or have to resort to satellite or other cables for connection.

The ship, according to its owners, Africa Rising Shipping & Exports (ARSE), travelled the whole way around the continent with its anchor trailing behind it, damaging a number of cables in the process.

Contacted, the President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said the development was a painful one that could negatively impact the economies of many African countries.

“It is very unfortunate that such an incident should take place at this time. This brings to the fore the need for African countries and Nigeria in particular to seek for additional ways of internet connection,” he said.

He said the development has further established the need for government to expedite action on the proposal to link Nigeria to Europe using terrestrial optic fibre cable passing through the Sahara Desert and Tunisia to under the Niger-Delta- Europe gas link project.