International Cable Protection Committee

Sharing the seabed in harmony with others

The International Cable Protection Committee represents 97% of the world’s subsea telecom cables.

The ICPC has more than 175 MEMBERS in over 60 COUNTRIES and has the vision of being the premier international submarine cable authority through providing leadership, knowledge and guidance on issues related to submarine cable security and reliability.

Latest News

ICPC Congratulates ISA on the 25th Anniversary of Its Establishment

Friday, 26 July 2019

LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), the world’s preeminent organisation devoted to protection of submarine cables, offered its congratulations to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on the 25th anniversary of its founding. Although it does not regulate submarine cables, the ISA plays a key role in ocean governance as the regulator and developer of deep seabed mining in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), an activity that must be coordinated with submarine cables.

Both the ICPC and the ISA depend on the oceans law framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—specifically, the ICPC for high-seas freedoms to install and repair submarine cables and the ISA for its existence and framework for developing deep seabed mining.

In a letter to ISA Secretary-General Mr Michael Lodge, ICPC’s leadership expressed the following: ‘We congratulate you, the Secretariat staff, and leaders of the Authority’s other organs for creating a robust and expert institution devoted to the development of mineral resources in the deep ocean with a minimum of environmental harm, and one open to engagement with other stakeholders. Submarine cables and seabed mining—two of the principal industries operating in the deep ocean—must continue to coordinate and cooperate to deliver their respective benefits to the world’s peoples.’

The ICPC and ISA concluded a memorandum of understanding in 2010 to further cooperation between the two organisations and their associated industries. ICPC delegations regularly attend ISA annual sessions in Kingston, Jamaica, where the ISA is headquartered, and ISA representatives have also attended ICPC Plenary meetings. In October 2018, the ICPC and ISA jointly sponsored a workshop in Bangkok, Thailand to develop practical tools for coordinating between submarine cable operators and mining contractors.

2019 ICPC Plenary: History Made in San Diego, California

Thursday, 06 June 2019

LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—Under the theme ‘Critical Infrastructure across the Oceans—protecting submarine cables and the marine environment,’ the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) held its largest Plenary meeting in the organisation’s history with a diverse submarine cables and related industry audience of about 150 delegates from 14-16 May 2019 in San Diego, California USA.

The annual ICPC Plenary was an excellent opportunity to engage with submarine cable owners, suppliers, installers, surveyors, academics and service providers regarding the planning, installation, operation, protection and maintenance of submarine telecommunications and power cables worldwide.

Day 1 included two presentations focused on offshore wind energy and its interaction with other seabed users. Throughout the day, presentations ranged from submarine cable security, repair times, natural hazards, cable burial and growing concerns about deep seabed mining with the potential to harm existing submarine cable networks. Presentations covering the ongoing Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations were followed by a lively question and answer session. Day 2 covered topics such as armour wire protection for submarine cables, distributed fibre sensing, marine maintenance and submarine cable law. Day 3 included insightful presentations discussing the protection of marine cultural heritage and natural resources, enhancing network resilience and the coexistence of offshore energy and submarine cables. Towards the end of day, the winner of the ICPC-sponsored 2018 Rhodes Academy submarine cables writing contest, presented: “Protection of Submarine Cables against Acts of Terrorism.”

Newly elected ICPC Chairman, Malcom Eccles of Basslink reacted: ‘This year’s Plenary was an outstanding event. The agenda was full of diverse subject matter from distinguished invited speakers and experts from ICPC Member organisations. I am very proud to be part of a group of individuals who all want the same thing—the protection of submarine cables worldwide from both man-made and natural hazards.”

The 2019 Plenary was also a place to recognise the outgoing ICPC Marine Environmental Adviser, Professor Lionel Carter for his 16 years of outstanding service to the submarine cable community. After a standing ovation from the delegation, Lionel ‘passed the baton’ to newly appointed Dr Michael Clare (National Oceanography Centre Southampton) who took up the role on 1 June 2019. During the Plenary, Dr Clare also presented: “New direct measurements of powerful seafloor hazards provide insights for cable routing and design.”

If you were unable to attend the 2019 ICPC Plenary, please visit the 2019 Plenary Highlights page. If interested in participating in next year’s ICPC Plenary, to be held in Spain, be sure to submit an abstract in response to the ICPC Plenary Call for Papers that will be issued later this year.

The 2020 ICPC Plenary will take place in Madrid, Spain from 28-30 April in the Novotel Madrid Center hotel.

ICLA Update: Malaysia Exempts Cable Ships Conducting Repairs from Cabotage Restrictions (17 April 2019)

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Malaysia’s Minister of Transport has formally exempted cable ships conducting repairs in Malaysian waters from cabotage restrictions under Malaysia’s Merchant Shipping Ordinance (1952). Absent this relief, cable owners and maintenance authorities would be required to use a Malaysian-flagged ship for such repairs. The ICPC welcomes this development, for which it and its members have advocated directly and within ASEAN. Malaysia’s action runs counter to the regional trend of more burdensome cabotage restrictions. For further information and context, please see the Transport Minister’s order [?] and related news articles [?].

Malaysia Merchant Shipping Ordinance - Cable Ship Exemption
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