TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Vietnamese Fishermen Salvage Internet Cable

Vietnamese Fishermen Salvage Internet Cable

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 08 Jun 2007 00:04:11 -0500

Fishermen who were allowed to take unused war-era undersea copper
cables have gone too far, "salvaging" fibre-optic lines providing some
of Vietnam's Internet and other international communications.

A Ministry of Posts and Telematics report seen on Thursday urged
authorities in central and southern regions to prevent the theft of
cable, whose loss underdeveloped Vietnam can ill afford.

"The general assessment is that most fishermen, and in some cases even
the local authorities, had a very simple understanding of the
consequences of the theft of under-sea fibre optic cable," the report
on a May 31 to June 5 investigation said.

State-run newspapers said an 11-km (7-mile) section of stolen TVH
fibre-optic cable would be replaced at a cost of $5.8 million. It was
part of the line that transmits data from Vietnam to Thailand and Hong

In all, about 43 km (27 miles) of fibre-optic cable is missing,
including about 32 km (20 miles) stolen from a cable operated by a
Singaporean company.

"Now just one undersea cable connects Vietnam with the outside world,"
Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.

The theft began after the government in the southern province of Ba
Ria-Vung Tau last year allowed fishermen and soldiers to salvage
undersea copper cable laid before 1975 to sell as scrap.

The Vietnam war in which the United States backed a South Vietnam
government, ended in April 1975 when communist North Vietnam troops
captured Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City.

The permission to salvage the cable has been withdrawn, the ministry
has asked the Coast Guard to increase patrols and inspections and
officials have started a public relations campaign to educate
fishermen about the importance of the cables.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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