West Africa Grapples with Internet Outage Following Submarine Cable Damage

Large swathes of West Africa are experiencing a major internet outage after damage was reported to 4 out of 5 critical submarine cables.

The disruption, impacting countries like Ivory Coast, Liberia, Benin, and Burkina Faso, began on Thursday and is causing significant connectivity issues for our colleagues in Ivory Coast, Benin and Burkina Faso.

According to internet monitoring groups Netblocks and Cloudflare, the outage severity varies across the region. Ivory Coast appears to be the most affected, while Liberia, Benin, and Burkina Faso are experiencing high disruption.

In the Ivory Coast, internet providers are now switching to MOOV CI’s unscathed cable but this results in weaker bandwidths.

Ironically, according to one Ivory Coast operator, the cable damage occurred during work to reroute inland portions of the cables to a less exposed site following the accidental severance of a cable during work on Abidjan’s Akwaba roundabout.

Disrupted Communication Hinders Port Operations

The internet shutdown is causing difficulties in communication, posing a challenge for port operations in the affected countries. Budd’s local offices are advising clients, particularly P&I Clubs, to anticipate delays in communication with essential personnel like local lawyers, adjusters, and port authorities. This can lead to delays in clearances, berthing arrangements, and handling cargo.

Disruptions to Online Tracking and Information Sharing

The maritime industry relies heavily on online platforms for real-time vessel tracking, weather updates, and crucial safety information. The internet outage can disrupt these services, potentially impacting navigation safety and situational awareness for crews. Additionally, electronic data interchange (EDI) systems used for customs clearance and other trade documentation might be hampered, causing delays in port calls and cargo movement.

Potential Impact on Financial Transactions

The outage could also disrupt online financial transactions, impacting payments to crew members, suppliers, and port fees. While traditional banking methods might still be available, they could lead to slower processing times and potential complications.

Repairs and Recovery Efforts Underway

Telecom operators and authorities are working to assess the damage and initiate repairs. Budd’s Ivory Coast office has been told that repair works are expected to take at least one week while testing may result in intermittent cuts for several weeks.

In the light of the above, please ensure that you copy all emails to and do not hesitate to call our colleagues in the Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia via their mobile phones.  As ever, Budd’s head office would be happy to assist in case of need.

For ease of reference, the contacts for Budd’s offices in the affected countries, as well as those of our French head office, are to be found here.

This news update will be followed by further information as the situation develops.



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