The importance of protecting the global submarine cables infrastructure is a common global. This data cable network is a vital infrastructure since the digital world, such as the digital economy, digital services, military operations, and more are depending on it.
In terms of operations, regulations and protection, the undersea cable network is a complex setup of various operators: telecommunication agencies, coast guards, marine police, military protection, and others. The international treaty negotiations governing submarine cables date back to the 1884 International Convention for the Protection of Submarine Telegraph Cables. Nowadays this is part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). But as these cables lay underwater, they seem to be forgotten or taken for granted by policymakers as a phenomenon called sea blindness.
However, with the recent and ongoing 2022 Ukraine war, and various malicious and targeted attacks of sabotage, the submarine cable industry is receiving public attention. Submarine cables are under threat during wartime due to increased terrorism and piracy, for a struggle of power. This can be seen through the September 2022 events, when Denmark and Sweden discovered four major leaks because of deliberate sabotage in Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the subsea gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany. Following this, Germany experienced another sabotage when fibre optic communication cables that were cut as a targeted action. Norway has also experienced further sabotage in its energy infrastructure by Russian intelligence services. And there is more.
Thanks to this wake-up call, the industry is undergoing a major shift as governments across the globe are recognising the importance of the subsea cables for communications, security, and digital economy. The protection of this core infrastructure has become more significant and is gaining seriousness in the geopolitical world where big politicians are now all in a race to protect their infrastructure. But this should not only be on every politician’s agenda. Service providers and suppliers to the industry should also contribute to the safety and security of these cables. As Oceans & Cables is a member of the International Cable Protection Committee, we share the same vision with them, to be recognised as the ‘Guardian of the Subsea Cable Infrastructure’ and is working to provide leadership, guidance, and a voice for the industry to promote awareness of the submarine cables safety and security.
Oceans & Cables Limited is a company based in Malta, founded in 2014, operating in the submarine cable industry and related technical services, working with various industries and markets globally. Our specialisation is in the consultancy, planning and implementation of the submarine cable industry for governmental entities, commercial corporations, and offshore energy companies around the world. For more information about Oceans & Cables, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article written by guest writer Ms Charlene Sciberras.