Photo of four-kilometer-long cable that disappeared — and was found again — before it was placed in the sea by LoveOcean/Institute of Marine Research Norway
Few took notice when a 4.2-km subsea cable connecting Svalbard to mainland Norway vanished without trace back in April 2021, but these days undersea infrastructure security has become a hot topic, EUobserver reports.
Inspectors mounted an expensive operation to see what happened. It took them until November 2021 to find a 3-km chunk of severed cable out at sea, some 11km out of position. The severed Svalbard cable is to cost €5.6m to repair and to be fully operational in 2024, amounting to years of lost scientific input.
“Either a trawl or an anchor grabbed the cable and dragged it. We’re pretty sure about that. When we inspected one of the ends of the cable it was clearly cut with a power tool which means it had been brought on to a vessel and manually cut,” Pedersen told EUobserver. “It could have been an accident or it could have been sabotage. We don’t know and I think we’ll never find out.”