Owners of Ship That Damaged Solomon Islands' Coral Sea Cable to Face Charges
By Paul Lipscombe, Data Center Dynamics
May 25, 2023
The incident, which took place on May 12 when the ship's anchor damaged the cable, led to disruption in Malaita and the Western and Choiseul Provinces.
According to local publication SBM Online, the ship has been detained, while its master and owner will face charges.
The vessel has been detained due to technical deficiencies, including the absence of updated navigational charts, per the director of Solomon Islands Maritime Authority Thierry Nervale.
“I cannot confirm how long the vessel will be detained but we are now considering charging the master and the owner for mismanagement that led to the damage of our submarine cable,” said Nervale.
The vessel has been identified as Fu Kuon No 808, which currently anchors off Rove water-front according to the article, as an investigation continues.
SBM also revealed that Nervale told the publication that the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) has previously worked to ensure the submarine cables are clearly marked and visible at all times.
The SISCC, which was formed as a 100 percent government-backed JV in 2016, is putting together a case through its lawyers against the ship, with a case expected to be filed this month.
The cable is not expected to be repaired until next month, as the ship needed won't arrive until June 20.
Following the damage to the cable, services to the three provinces were impacted, while operator Solomon Telekom (also known as Breeze) has slowly restored its services, noting that all services in Malaita are back up and running.
Work is ongoing to restore services to other parts of the Solomon Islands including Taro, Western Province, and Noro.