- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 9, 2008

CAIRO (AP) — An abandoned anchor was responsible for cutting one of the undersea Internet cables severed last week, causing disruptions across the Middle East and parts of Asia, the cable’s owner said yesterday.

A FLAG Telecom repair crew discovered the anchor near where the fiber-optic cable was severed Feb. 1 in the Persian Gulf, 35 miles north of Dubai, between the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Weighing more than 5.5 tons, the anchor has been pulled to the surface. The company did not immediately explain whether the anchor moved and snapped the cable or whether the cable itself was drifting when it was sliced.

It is still not clear exactly how any of the cuts occurred.

It also was not clear whether FLAG knew what vessel the anchor belonged to. Rough weather was reported nearby at the time of the cut, but conditions have since improved.

Meanwhile, a second FLAG repair ship continued work on two undersea cables that were cut Jan. 30. They are about 5 miles off the north coast of Egypt, near the port city of Alexandria, and run between Egypt and Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily.

Repairs at both locations are expected to be done by tomorrow.

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