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A satellite image shows the cargo ship Rubymar before it sank, on the Red Sea. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

A satellite image shows the Belize-flagged and UK-owned cargo ship Rubymar, which was attacked by Yemen's Houthis, according to the U.S. military's Central Command, before it sank, on the Red Sea, March 1, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Telecoms Company Confirms Damage to Red Sea Submarine Cables

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2489
March 6, 2024

HGC Global Communications, a leading Hong Kong-based telecommunications provider, has reported substantial damage to several undersea communications cables in the Red Sea. The company estimates that the disruption has impacted approximately 25% of data traffic between Asia and Europe.

Four major submarine cables, namely Seacom, TGN, AAE-1, and EIG, have been severed. These cables collectively handle around 80% of the west-bound traffic from Asia, which accounts for 15% of Asia’s total data traffic, the company said.

The cause of the damage remains unclear. However, a U.S official said an investigation was underway to determine whether the cables were deliberately cut or accidentally snagged by an anchor, according to the BBC. Yemen’s government has expressed concerns about the Houthi movement potentially sabotaging undersea cables and attacking ships, allegations the Houthis deny. The terrorist group instead attributed any cable damage to U.S and British military strikes.

The damage also comes after the the missile strike on the M/V Rubymar in the Southern Red Sea. The ship was reportedly dragging anchor prior to its sinking over the weekend.

In response to the damage, HGC has implemented a plan to reroute the affected traffic. The contingency plan involves rerouting north-bound traffic through mainland China to Europe, east-bound traffic through the United States to Europe, and diversifying west-bound traffic within the remaining 11 submarine cable systems in the Red Sea.

HGC is also extending support to other affected businesses. The company has been approached by carriers from the Middle East and North Africa region for contingency rerouting options from Hong Kong networks to the West.

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