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Undersea cable cut: MainOne declares force majeure, says repairs might take weeks

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Submarine cable company, MainOne, has declared a force majeure as Thursday’s undersea cable cut continues to disrupt internet services in Nigeria and some other West African countries.

The company also hinted that while actions have started towards the repair of the damage, the process might take weeks to complete.

According to a statement issued by the company, its preliminary investigations suggested that some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable. It, however, said more data would be obtained when the cable is retrieved during the repair exercise.

MainOne said it had to declare a force majeure event after it tested the cable system and when it had enough technical data from the preliminary assessment to indicate some underwater activity was the likely cause.

A Force Majeure event describes an activity beyond our reasonable control e.g. riots, earthquakes etc. Commercial contracts typically include such a clause which enables service providers to suspend contractual obligations for the duration of such disruptions.

Nonetheless, MainOne said it is working to provide restoration services to as many of its customers as possible, and to complete the repairs to the cable system in record time.

The cable company said it has a maintenance agreement with the Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable. Explaining the repair process, it said they will first need to identify and assign a vessel, the vessel has to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair, and then sail to the fault location to conduct the repair work.

Providing background to the service disruption that has led to poor data service for millions of internet users in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday  explained that the disruption was caused by a combination of cable cuts, resulting in equipment faults on the major undersea cables along the West African Coast.

According to the Commission, similar undersea cables providing traffic from Europe to the East Coast of Africa, like Seacom, Europe India Gateway (EIG), Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE1), are said to have been cut at some point around the Red Sea, resulting in degradation of services across on these routes.

 

 

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