Undersea fiber cut after Taiwan earthquake - PCCW / Singtel /

Frank Coluccio frank at dticonsulting.com
Fri Dec 29 00:08:59 UTC 2006

Joel Jaeggli wrote:

>The relevant charts and or current navigation software have the cables
>well marked because mariners have an obligation under several
>international treaties (going back to 1884) not to hit them...

All very good points. Thanks for pointing this out. Just so we're clear, while I
was passing along information provided by a third party I wasn't suggesting
whether obfuscating, or attempting to hide, or make public, location information
posed a problem or had any merit one way or the other. You've presented somewhat
of a Gordian knot here, it would appear. 

Consider, while it's extremely difficult for a customer to obtain information
concerning his or her own overland fiber routes without the signing away of their
first born, here we have, ironically, a situation where underwater cables of far
greater import are clearly marked on charts and made freely available through
software under the international treaty terms. Very interesting, but as you
suggest, a condition that's existed for a very long time.

Where continental shelves come into play, this problem has been partially
mitigated since 1970, when TAT-5 between R.I. and Spain was implemented using the
first "sea plow" to bury the cable several feet down off Rhode Island. That
having been said, not all shorelines sit on top of continental shelves, and even
where trenching is used on a shelf, it, too, poses its own perils during repairs,
when dangling cable ends are lost in a mire of mud clouds that take hours to
settle after divers use water pressure to find them while kicking up sediment on
the seabed. 

In other situations some operators resort to using radio communications and
sometimes small craft to ward off ships from cabling lanes. Years ago piper cubs
were used to buzz encroaching ships and drop tons of leaflets on them warning
them to stay away. Today they'd probably get shot down.

Right about here I'd expect a visit from Sean Gorman, who has had his own share
of grief to deal with in this respect while plotting the nation's overland fiber
routes. In fact, the title of his book is tres apropos to the problem you

Networks, Security And Complexity: The Role of Public Policy in Critical
Infrastructure Protection  by Sean P. Gorman (Hardcover - Sep 5, 2005)



On Thu Dec 28 18:18 , Joel Jaeggli  sent:

>Frank Coluccio wrote:
>> Kidding aside, these "errors" are actually intentional, and the publisher makes
>> no bones about it at the bottom of the page. See disclaimer under the South
>> Atlantic Ocean:
>> "Cable Routes do not represent all subsea cable networks and do not reflect
>> actual location of cables"
>The relevant charts and or current navigation software have the cables
>well marked because mariners have an obligation under several
>international treaties (going back to 1884) not to hit them... If you
>have the tools to go on a "fishing trip" you have the tools to find the
>cable.  If you obfuscate the location of cables I can plead ignorance
>when I drag it up with my achor.
>Like with back-hoeing through fiber, if you think hitting a submarine
>cable is bad there's plenty other stuff out there that has potentially
>disastrous consequences, gas lines, oil lines, well heads, high voltage
>power lines, and of course lots of other things that fall into the
>category of navigational hazards.
>Joel Jaeggli             Unix Consulting              joelja at uoregon.edu
>GPG Key Fingerprint:   5C6E 0104 BAF0 40B0 5BD3 C38B F000 35AB B67F 56B2

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