Aquatic Robotics

Robots Seek Cause of Middle East Cable Cuts

Posted 8 Feb 2008 at 19:40 UTC by steve Share This

The popular media is full of hype and conspiracy theories about the causes of the recent submarine telecom cable outages. What really happened? Undersea robots are seeking the answer. FLAG Telecom reports that the February 1 Falcon cable cut between Dubai and Ai Seeb was caused by a ship's anchor. The abandoned anchor, weighing over 5 tons, was even found at the site of the break. An ROV is now inspecting the January 30 cable cut near Alexandra, Egypt. To find the cut, the robot has to travel along the length of the cable until a break is found. Once the break is found, the robot assists in the repair by cutting out the damaged section and retrieving the severed ends of the cable for repair aboard a ship. A BBC article has details the location and technology of the undersea cables. FLAG Telecom relies on a number of ROVs including the Pacific Scarab, Triton ST200 and Nerus II. Because of the potential revenue loss caused by this type of disruption, companies that manage undersea cables are turning to more advanced types of undersea robots including Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) that may be able to speed repairs and maintenance.

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