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Chapter 11. Protecting Submarine Cables from Competing Uses

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights the main causes of submarine cable faults arising from external human aggression, examines the various legal and policy challenges faced by States in minimizing such faults, and discusses best practices on the protection of cables by both governments and the cable industry. Analysis undertaken in a 2007 study indicates that between 72-86 per cent of all cable faults are caused by external aggression. The equipment and practices employed in bottom contact fishing activities can be very detrimental to submarine cables. Coastal States and archipelagic States have an express right to adopt laws and regulations relating to innocent passage/archipelagic sea lanes passage through their territorial sea and archipelagic waters in order to protect submarine cables. Around the world governments are coming to the realization that submarine cables represent critical infrastructure, on par with power generation and food and water distribution.

Keywords: archipelagic States; archipelagic waters; cable industry; coastal States; submarine cables



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