Telecom cables laid in occupied waters

The French company Alcatel Submarine Networks SpA, partially owned by Nokia, has laid telecom cables in occupied Western Sahara. 

19 April 2021

Graphic above:

Two vessels have completed an assignment to lay subsea telecom cables offshore Dakhla in occupied Western Sahara.

The two vessels are Peter Faber (IMO 8027781) and Ile de Brehat (IMO 9247053), both owned and operated by the French company Alcatel Submarine Networks SpA, which is partially owned by the Finnish telecom giant Nokia. The vessels started their work around 11 March and followed the exact same trajectory where Dutch seismic study company Fugro had undertaken a preparatory seabed survey in December 2019. 

According to a notice sent out to local fishermen in Dakhla (image to the right), the work was commissioned by Maroc Telecom, and consisted of 67 miles of cable. “We ask all seafarers to avoid the work area and to maintain a safe distance”, the notice reads. The warning carries the logos of Alcatel, as well as those of the two Moroccan firms Amaocean and Lasry Maroc.

From what WSRW understands, the cable is a branch connecting Dakhla to a larger subsea cable following the coastline of Western Sahara further offshore.  

On 14 April 2021, a letter was sent by the French association APSO, the Finnish Peace Committee and Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) to Alcatel, with copy to Nokia. From what WSRW understands, the Western Sahara republic wrote a protest letter to Alcatel in March. 

Morocco has illegally occupied this part of Western Sahara since 1979. Dakhla port is central to Morocco's plunder of the fish stocks of occupied Western Sahara. The area around Dakhla is also increasingly used for controversial tourism. 

Peter Faber is owned and operated by Cable Maintenance Offshore Ltd, a Malaysian subsidiary of the company Alcatel Submarine Networks SpA from France. Ile de Brehat is owned and operated by French company ASN Marine SASU, also a subsidiary of the same Alcatel Submarine Networks SpA

Both ships have Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS from France as technical manager. This company was contacted on 14 April 2021 by WSRW, APSO and the Finnish Peace Committee. Both vessels are insured by GARD AS from Norway. 

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