According to an article appearing in today’s Business Daily newspaper, undersea Fibre Optic Cable operator, the East African Marine Cable System (TEAMs), has sued the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and a shipping firm for Sh1.2 billion over recent cable cuts that interrupted voice and data businesses for a month.
The undersea fibre cut incident which caused a major data outage in East Africa was caused by a ship owned by Athena Shipping on 25th February. The ship dragged its anchor on a restricted water path and destroyed the undersea cable, interrupting telecoms services in the one month that it was being repaired.
This adversely affected service providers like Safaricom, Kenya Data Networks and Access Kenya since they could not supply Internet to their clients and incurred extra costs in seeking alternative carriers like the satellite and rival fibre optic firm Seacom.
The ports authority and shipping line could face another suit and similar claims following a fresh cut on the cable last Thursday that is expected to take a month to repair.
“We will sue it (KPA) again as soon as we establish the cause of the cut, we have already sued it for $15 million in the earlier case of which they have deposited $2.5 million with the court,” Information and Communications PS Bitange Ndemo told the Business Daily. TEAMs has tapped corporate law firm Daly and Figgis to handle the brief and the Sh1.2 billion charge is for lost business, repair of the cables and the extra cost incurred by the operators.