Repair ships reach FLAG cable mishap sites

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) The two undersea cables owned by FLAG telecom, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, that were recently damaged and had distrupted internet services across Asia and West Asia have been restored on alternative routes with repair ships finally reaching the mishap sites.

The work on the first FLAG Europe-Asia cable which was damaged on January 30, off Alexandria in Egypt, is being executed by a repair ship loaded with spares at the site.

FLAG has already received necessary permits to commence work from the Egyptian authorities, company sources said.

The FALCON cable, which was cut on February 1, was damaged 56 kms off Dubai between UAE and Oman and the FLAG repair team is operating in extreme weather conditions to ensure timely repairs.

Earlier, bad weather had prevented a repair ship from setting off to mend one of three broken undersea cables providing Internet services to parts of the Gulf and Asia.

FLAG had earlier said that due to bad weather, the port authorities have not permitted any ships to sail. ''As soon as weather clears, the ship will sail to the repair ground,'' the company had said on February 2.

The two ships have approached the mishap site and a repair team is on the job.

Undersea cable connections were initially disrupted off Egypt's northern coast on last Wednesday, affecting Internet access in the Gulf region and south Asia, and forcing service providers to re-route traffic.

The initial breaches were in segments of two intercontinental cables known as SEA-ME-WE-4 and FLAG Europe-Asia.

More than 95 per cent of such telecoms and data traffic are carried by submarine cables, and the rest by satellite.

A recent such disruption was in December 2006, when an earthquake broke nine submarine cables between Taiwan and the Philippines, cutting connections between southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

UNI RT SR HS1919

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