Houthi’s Cut Submarine Cables – Updated

 

This is a story that doesn’t seem to be getting any attention. I don’t know enough about telecommunications to evaluate the damage, but it seems serious to me. There doesn’t seem to be a prospect of repairing these cables anytime soon, either.

From cf.org:

3 submarine cables cut in the Red Sea between Jeddah and Djibouti. AAE-1, EIG and SEACOM/TGN-Eurasia are down. Note: Authorities looking at potential terror link.

Confirmed: Submarine cables cut by Houthis in Yemen waters.

To repair the cables, need permission from Yemen to enter their waters

Insurance companies have canceled insurance for cable ships to ply in Yemen waters

No maintenance cable ships willing to do repairs

Cable ships cost $60-&100 million each. Who will take the risk?

On December 24th, 2023, a Telegram channel linked to the Houthis published a map showing the networks of submarine communications cables in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf. The image was accompanied by an ominous message: “There are maps of international cables connecting all regions of the world through the sea. It seems that Yemen is in a strategic location, as internet lines that connect entire continents — not only countries—pass near it.”

I like the part about Yemen being in a strategic location.

The map at the article does indeed show many undersea cables transit the Red Sea, in the immediate vicinity of the Houthis. The potential for destruction is large. I’m curious as to why this hasn’t drawn more interest. Am I looking in the wrong places?

There are 3 cables specifically mentioned as being cut. Here is a link for each one showing its path and connected nodes.

AAE-1 (Asia Africa Europe-1)

EIG (Europe India Gateway)

SEACOM/TGN-Eurasia

Surprising to me is how many cables connect to Djibouti. It looks to have more than any African location except for Egypt. Most of the connections between Europe and Asia run past Yemen. Again, amazing potential for damage here. Perhaps these cuts will galvanize some action by… I don’t know.  Operation Prosperity Guardian? Anyone?

Update: Via Zerohedge, this article in Globes stated a fourth cable has been cut.

This is causing serious disruption of Internet communications between Europe and Asia, with the main damage being felt in the Gulf countries and India.

Estimates are that the damage to communications activities is significant but not critical because other cables pass through the same region linking Asia, Africa and Europe that have not been hit.

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  1. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Lunchbox Gerald: This is a story that doesn’t seem to be getting any attention.

    Well, with the cables cut, it took a while for the news to get to us. 

    • #1
  2. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald: This is a story that doesn’t seem to be getting any attention.

    Well, with the cables cut, it took a while for the news to get to us.

    Ha!

    Starlink is not yet publicly traded.  I checked.

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Lunchbox Gerald: Surprising to me is how many cables connect to Djibouti.

    It’s one of the most stable countries in Africa thanks to its free trade policies and the large foreign military presence intent on keeping the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait open. They’ll lease space to pretty much any nation that wants to build a naval base there. e.g. It’s the only country in the world where Japan maintains a foreign naval base.

    • #3
  4. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald: Surprising to me is how many cables connect to Djibouti.

    It’s one of the most stable countries in Africa thanks to its free trade policies and the large foreign military presence intent on keeping the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait open. They’ll lease space to pretty much any nation that wants to build a naval base there. e.g. It’s the only country in the world where Japan maintains a foreign naval base.

    I have now doubled my knowledge about Djibouti today.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The “What’s Up With Shipping” YouTube channel had been talking about the possibility a few weeks ago.  I haven’t watched his videos for several days now, so wasn’t aware that it had happened. 

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The “What’s Up With Shipping” YouTube channel had been talking about the possibility a few weeks ago. I haven’t watched his videos for several days now, so wasn’t aware that it had happened.

    Judging by the titles the issue hasn’t been touched in the last four videos (which I had missed).  But then, Sal Mercogliano‘s expertise is in shipping, not telecommunications. 

    The correct title of the channel is “What’s Going On With Shipping,” not “What’s Up With Shipping.” 

    • #6
  7. Internet's Hank Contributor
    Internet's Hank
    @HankRhody

    Lunchbox Gerald: This is causing serious disruption of Internet communications between Europe and Asia, with the main damage being felt in the Gulf countries and India.

    This sounds like a ‘them’ problem rather than a ‘us’ problem. I’d like to see India come down on them like Shiva on a bender.

    • #7
  8. Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer Member
    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer
    @ape2ag

    How did they cut them?

    • #8
  9. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer (View Comment):

    How did they cut them?

    I haven’t seen any reports that definitively state what was done.  Just the fact that most of the cables have stopped transmitting traffic has led to the conclusion that they were “cut” or otherwise damaged.  As threatening as the Houthis are to all sea traffic, I doubt anyone has gone in to investigate.  One report stated that simply dragging an anchor in the wrong place would damage a cable.

    • #9
  10. Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer Member
    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer
    @ape2ag

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer (View Comment):

    How did they cut them?

    I haven’t seen any reports that definitively state what was done. Just the fact that most of the cables have stopped transmitting traffic has led to the conclusion that they were “cut” or otherwise damaged. As threatening as the Houthis are to all sea traffic, I doubt anyone has gone in to investigate. One report stated that simply dragging an anchor in the wrong place would damage a cable.

    I read so many news articles in which there is just an obvious question that is left completely unaddressed.  I suspect the omissions are deliberate.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s an intel thing here.

    • #10
  11. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    The correct title of the channel is “What’s Going On With Shipping,”

    This video was done before the cuts.  The presenter recounts one past instance of a cable being broken by an anchor dropping on it.  He gives a good overview of the possible impact of a cable being cut, and some history of undersea cable projects (starting in 1858!).  The cables running past Yemen are 100 meters below the surface.

    He mentions the WW1 cutting of German trans-Atlantic cables which led to the infamous Zimmerman Telegram affair.

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    The correct title of the channel is “What’s Going On With Shipping,”

    This video was done before the cuts. The presenter recounts one past instance of a cable being broken by an anchor dropping on it. He gives a good overview of the possible impact of a cable being cut, and some history of undersea cable projects (starting in 1858!). The cables running past Yemen are 100 meters below the surface.

    He mentions the WW1 cutting of German trans-Atlantic cables which led to the infamous Zimmerman Telegram affair.

    That’s the one!  I didn’t remember that it was a completely separate video, though.

    • #12
  13. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer (View Comment):

    How did they cut them?

    Sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

    • #13
  14. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    I am beefing up my emergency food, water, and TO supply. Will look into the company that sells emergency med kits. 

    • #14
  15. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    What is the proof? Do the Houthis have divers capable of doing it? Do they have the submarine equipment to do it? We can’t find (or won’t admit to) proof of who destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline. I want the proof that the Houthi’s did it. 

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Metalheaddoc (View Comment):

    What is the proof? Do the Houthis have divers capable of doing it? Do they have the submarine equipment to do it? We can’t find (or won’t admit to) proof of who destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline. I want the proof that the Houthi’s did it.

    As has already been mentioned, knocking out the cables wouldn’t require anything like what the Nordstream action would likely have taken.  “Anyone” can drag an anchor across the bottom.

    • #16
  17. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Metalheaddoc (View Comment):

    What is the proof? Do the Houthis have divers capable of doing it? Do they have the submarine equipment to do it? We can’t find (or won’t admit to) proof of who destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline. I want the proof that the Houthi’s did it.

    Well, the Houthis warned they would do it.  But how can anyone believe what they say? 

    Their actions against surface traffic speak pretty loudly.

    • #17
  18. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    • #18
  19. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses.  A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water.  Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    • #19
  20. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks!  I was aware of those.  The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean.  I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)…  I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    One of the first things the British did when WWI started was to cut the German undersea cables. 

    Comm Check

    • #22
  23. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason.  Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc.  Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    • #24
  25. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason. Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc. Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    They don’t end underwater. Besides, the Navy already had one long name. Another long name would have been more than the Navy could handle. Mostlysubmarine.

    • #25
  26. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason. Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc. Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    They are under the sea. Don’t let pedantry lure you into stupidity.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason. Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc. Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    They don’t end underwater. Besides, the Navy already had one long name. Another long name would have been more than the Navy could handle. Mostlysubmarine.

    The underwater cables are permanently under water.  The ends are not underwater cables, obviously.  The underwater parts are the underwater cables.  The whole things might be considered trans-oceanic etc, but only the parts under water are underwater cables.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Barfly (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason. Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc. Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    They are under the sea. Don’t let pedantry lure you into stupidity.

    Then call them undersea cables, not submarine.

    • #28
  29. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    L

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Submarine Cable?”

    I will forego the smart-alec responses. A submarine cable is simply a telephone or data cable that is laid under the water. Started with a telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858.

    Oh, thanks! I was aware of those. The term “submarine” was making me think this had something to do with military submarines and I was trying to figure out why they would be in the Mediterranean. I’ve always heard them referred to as underwater communication cables, like the one that washed up on shore at Gilligan’s Island!

    Undersea, underwater, submerged, trans-oceanic (what, do they think it floats?)… I don’t get why people would use “submarine” instead.

    For the same reason we call those tubes that hold people submarines.

    Not really the same reason. Submarines are SOMETIMES submerged, and have independent propulsion and crews etc. Undersea cables are ALWAYS submerged, and have NO propulsion nor crews.

    They are under the sea. Don’t let pedantry lure you into stupidity.

    Then call them undersea cables, not submarine.

    Once again, you ignore my sage advice.

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Sal says the Rubymar (now on its way to the bottom of the Red Sea, most likely) may have snagged some of the cables with its starboard anchor.  We don’t know, of course.

    • #30
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