The increase in pirate activity during April and May 2009, both in terms of intensity and geographical coverage, has caused a change in Seacom’s cable installation plans. The cable's ready-for-service date has now moved from 27 June 2009 to 23 July 2009.
The planned route required the ship to transit an area of increased pirate activity where other ships had been attacked or seized. The cable deployment in the troublesome waters has since been completed and splicing to connect the section of cable from Mumbai to Africa is expected shortly. Testing of the larger cable system will be finalised shortly thereafter.
The cable section from South Africa (Mtunzini) to Kenya (Mombasa), including all south and east African landing stations, has already undergone successful testing.
In the meantime, Seacom is working with its contractor, Tyco Telecommunications, to find ways of accelerating the outstanding works and bring forward the ready-for-service date ahead of 23 July 2009.
Brian Herlihy, CEO of Seacom, says: “Due to sensitivities around piracy issues, their impact on the project timeline was only fully established recently. While I am personally truly disappointed by the delay, it was imperative that strong measures be put in place to guarantee the successful completion of the cable system and the safety of the ship and its crews.
“This setback should, however, be seen against the herculean efforts made by the team to see this project come to fruition over an incredibly tight schedule of only 18 months. We remain extremely excited and look forward to witnessing the huge difference that affordable, high quality and plentiful bandwidth will have throughout eastern and southern Africa.“