Article: “Internet Infrastructure: Where foreign affairs and the climate crisis intersect”
Friday, 06 September 2019 ICPC Vice Chairman, Graham Evans and ICPC Member organisation, XSite Modular contributed to the following article written by Nicole Starosielski, titled: ‘Internet Infrastructure: Where foreign affairs and the climate crisis intersect.’ The article was first published with OpenCanada.org on 30 July 2019.
When most people think about struggles over the global internet, platforms and content come to mind: the $5 billion fine levied at Facebook for privacy violations. Antitrust law and Google and Amazon’s corporate monopolies. The discrimination of artificial intelligence. The politics of content moderation and data governance.
Occasionally, hardware surfaces, as in the case of Australian, Japanese and US bans on Chinese telecom manufacturers. More often, infrastructure is relegated to the background. The expansive web of cables, data centres, internet exchanges, cloud services and content delivery networks are invisible to most users. As a result, they are less often a target of governance.
This is especially true for the most international of all internet infrastructure: undersea cables. Cable systems are the backbone of the global internet. They carry almost all internet traffic across continents and underneath oceans. They facilitate transactions between financial centres. They are the means by which air transportation and shipping is coordinated. And they transport the bulk of all messages between people around the world. Undersea cables are a primary medium of foreign relations.
Cables have supported global interconnection — and re-shaped global trade, relationships and policies — since the nineteenth century. But today the sheer amount of digital information circulated means that nations are highly dependent on cables. When the Polynesian islands that make up Tonga were subject to a set of cable breaks this past January, it disrupted banking, tourism, transportation and business. Being severed from the cable network can produce a rift in a nation’s social and economic stability. If climate change threatens the cable network, it could transform all international relations.The internet under water
As National Geographic
reported last year in “The Internet is Drowning,” climate change poses a threat to the internet’s infrastructure. At first, undersea cables might seem an exception, offering a secure means of communication in rising waters. But cables, like so many other communications systems, are vulnerable to environmental changes and extreme weather.
Cables are susceptible both along their winding subsea routes and at their coastal landing points. Many cable stations, the places where systems terminate after coming ashore, were built before climate change was a consideration in builders’ minds. Stations are often located near the coast, sometimes just a short walk from the beach. Some extend underground well below sea level in Cold War-style bunkers. Some exist in remote areas, where human access could become impossible in extreme weather. Amy Marks of XSite Modular,
a company that manufactures telecommunications infrastructure, argues that changing weather patterns are “a real threat for cable landing stations.”
But the undersea network won’t be the first casualty of climate change, by far. Compared to other built architectures, cable landing stations are some of the most secure locations in the internet’s infrastructure. There’s surveillance. There are fences and concrete walls. There are backup generators and batteries in case the power goes out. In some cases, cable stations have become places of refuge for employees when local power and water shut off. In any given community, the cable station is likely to be one of the safest places to be. Marks recounts that in 2018 an XSite Modular cable station in Tinian, near Guam, even made it through a direct hit by a Category 5 super typhoon without any damage.
But even these hardened infrastructures — with their backup generators and insulated systems — eventually require people and power to function. The global network cannot be sustained without the grid. As the environment changes, the grid fails and people are subject to floods and fires, the cable station, too, will be exposed to the elements. In the process, so will the international connections that it supports.Escaping to outer space?
Cables still carry almost all internet traffic, but there’s been some recent hype about the return of satellite. SpaceX’s Elon Musk plans to launch close to 12,000 internet-delivering satellites. Amazon’s Project Kuiper is a broadband system with over 3,000 satellites. OneWeb promises to finally give everyone access to reliable, high-speed internet. These projects are the beginning of an internet space race, all taking place in the low-Earth orbit, less than 2,000 km above the planet’s surface.
Although these satellites extend service to locations that would be difficult, if not impossible, to reach by undersea cables, they do not approach the amount of capacity cables provide. They are not an alternative internet backbone. At the recent SubOptic conference, Tim Stronge and Alan Mauldin of the research firm Telegeography conducted an analysis of the competition. Even with the many satellites planned, they showed that space systems are unlikely to match — or even come close to — the undersea network. For now, and in the future, the global economy, international relations and digital exchanges will all remain tied to a communications system that rests on the ocean floor and which is subject to changes in terrestrial and oceanic conditions.Securing the system
The cable industry is aware of climate change — and many people have started researching ways to make the system greener. These include decreasing cables’ power consumption, planning for solar and wind power, and reducing the energy use of massive cable laying ships. There are even science cables deployed as a means of tracking ocean conditions and, by extension, the effects of climate change. Cable owners have also begun to think about protecting networks themselves from climate change.
Historically, cable protection has been driven by the telecommunications industry rather than governments, even though many governments have declared cables “critical infrastructure.” Cables have generally benefitted both from their relative invisibility to policymakers and from the freedoms granted to them under the Law of the Sea. The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC),
the organization dedicated to protecting the cable system, has tackled a growing wave of new threats — and not just climate change. There have been conflicts with the expanding array of other seabed users, from offshore energy operators to deep-sea miners.
The acceleration of global shipping means that more boats can drop anchor on cables in shallow landing zones. The disruption of cables by anchors, which occurs regularly, remains difficult to prevent, although redundancy in the overall system keeps these disruptions from being felt.
The ICPC, using peer-reviewed, evidence-based data, has also identified a number of potential climate change related threats, beyond the obvious impacts on coastal infrastructure. Laying cables depends on a stable sea. As chairman of the ICPC Graham Evans
describes, “more vigorous sea conditions will influence cable laying and maintenance operations.” Greater instability in the seabed, whether caused by stronger storms or coastal flooding, could also disrupt networks. Human activities are changing with the climate, and people might begin fishing and anchoring in previously protected cable zones.
At the same time such threats have increased, governments have also begun to assert sovereignty more strongly over (and through) network infrastructure. These range from Russia’s disconnection test, to intentional internet blackouts (for example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, among others), to the splitting of Yemen’s internet, to establishing internet exchanges to keep data local. Internet infrastructure is not only the medium of global interconnection, it is also a means of asserting national interests.
Even as governments attempt to influence and stake a claim over the internet, they rarely perceive the complexity of the threats that might undermine it, especially the threat of climate change to cable infrastructure. There is little coordinated effort among governments to shore up the ICPC’s efforts or plan for the security of the system as a whole. As a result, the vulnerability of cables to climate change and other risks are increasingly of concern to states as well.
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 [?]
The ICPC again sponsors Rhodes Academy Submarine Cables Writing Award
Thursday, 14 March 2019
Each year, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) sponsors the Rhodes Academy Submarine Cables Writing Award for a deserving paper addressing submarine cables and their relationship with the law of the sea. With the award, the ICPC seeks to foster scholarship regarding submarine cables and the law of the sea and promote the rule of law as applied to submarine cables. In 2018, the selection jury chose Ms. Liao Xuexia of China as the winner for her paper titled: “Protection of Submarine Cables against Acts of Terrorism.”Rhodes Academy.
Each year, the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy brings together approximately 50 mid-career professionals from around the world to study and learn from leading ocean law and science scholars, judges, and practitioners (including ICPC representatives) about the law of the sea and its key legal instrument—the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It is organised by a consortium of research universities and institutes and led by the University of Virginia. The Rhodes Academy’s twenty-fourth session will convene from 30 June to 19 July 2019, in Rhodes, Greece. Numerous students affiliated with ICPC Members have graduated from the Rhodes Academy and the ICPC is proud to support the program. For more information about the Rhodes Academy (including application procedures), visit: https://colp.virginia.edu/Rhodesacademy
The award winner will receive either guaranteed admission and a full scholarship (covering the attendance fee, travel expenses, and shared hotel room) to the 2019 Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, or for a graduate of the Rhodes Academy from a prior year, the winning recipient will receive a cash award of £4,500. The winner will also be invited to speak at the ICPC Plenary meeting in 2020.Eligibility and Process.
The Rhodes Academy Submarine Cables Writing Award is open to any person aspiring to attend the Rhodes Academy (the candidate must meet the admissions requirements) or a Rhodes Academy Graduate from a prior year. Papers should be suitable for publication in a scholarly international law journal and must consist of 7,500 – 10,000 words (excluding footnotes). To register to compete for the award, interested candidates should send an abstract (no more than 300 words) and a short biography to the Centre for International Law (CIL) at the National University of Singapore, firstname.lastname@example.org, which administers the competition on behalf of ICPC and the Rhodes Academy. Papers must be submitted to CIL via: email@example.com no later than 1 April 2019.
Papers will be reviewed anonymously by the selection jury, consisting of two members designated by the Rhodes Academy and one by the ICPC. The Jury will announce the award winner by 1 May 2019.
The ICPC Welcomes Your Participation at Its 2019 Plenary: Call for Papers
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 Extended Abstract Submission Date: 8 March 2019
Every year the ICPC Plenary attracts a global and industry-specific audience to consider the protection of submarine cables—the infrastructure of the Internet. Participation provides 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 cables. The 2019 ICPC Plenary will take place in the Courtyard Liberty Station Hotel in San Diego, California USA from 14-16 May 2019. The ICPC asks interested presenters to submit abstracts for proposed presentations no later than Friday, 8 March 2019. The ICPC welcomes abstracts from ICPC Members and other interested parties.
ICPC’s three-day conference offers participants the opportunities to enhance their industry knowledge for networking with colleagues and customers as well as meeting with exhibitors whom will be showcasing their products and services. Delegates will find an agenda full of pertinent presentations, round tables and interviews and the ICPC welcomes the opportunity for the industry to make the first step in reserving your place at the ICPC’s annual event by submitting a presentation abstract in response to the Call for Papers.
The theme for the 2019 Plenary is ‘Critical Infrastructure across the Oceans—protecting submarine cables and the marine environment.’ The ICPC suggests the following presentation topics, but abstracts on additional relevant topics are also welcome:
- The future of submarine cable protection—news and developments
- International power cables—growth and challenges
- Expanding the cable network and protecting the world’s oceans
- Innovative and challenging cable routes
- Technology for submarine cable security and resilience
- Operation and maintenance trends
- Law, policy and international cables
- Sharing the seabed with competing uses
For any enquiries, please send an e-mail to the ICPC Secretariat via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Cable Protection Committee celebrates the 60th anniversary of its first submarine cable protection initiatives
Monday, 26 November 2018
After six decades, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) continues to fulfil its mission by advancing submarine cable protection worldwide. Today, marks the 60th anniversary of the ICPC’s first Plenary held on 26 November 1958.
In the mid-1950’s, a group of submarine cable systems operators formed The Cable Damage Committee (CDC). At the inception of TAT-1, (the first transatlantic coaxial telephone cable system), an international committee was conceived. The TAT-1 system used the unidirectional flexible repeater where two cables were needed to make a transmission circuit. Because two submarine cables were needed to achieve bi-directional communication, TAT-1 was twice as vulnerable to faults via ships’ anchoring or commercial fishing. At CDC’s inception, eleven Member organisations belonged to the group. Today, the ICPC has grown to over 175 Member organisations with Membership open to governments, ship operators, system suppliers, survey operators and “Associate” Members.Brief history of the ICPC:
The inaugural CDC Plenary meeting was chaired in London on 26 November 1958 with an agenda focused on cable damage by beam trawlers in the North Atlantic and North Sea, charting of cables, and acting as a liaison with the thriving fishing industry—topics that remain on the agenda today. The CDC continued to meet in London until its fifth and last Plenary in 1967 and in that year, the CDC Members decided to change the organisation’s name to the International Cable Protection Committee to better emphasise submarine cable protection rather than submarine cable damage. The first Plenary under the new name was held in Paris, 1968.Early-year highlights:
Today and beyond:
- 1972: ICPC addressed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the first time and continued to do so until 1982 when the international treaty was ratified by most nations and signed into law.
- 1973: ICPC introduced its first Recommendation (a guide promoting the highest goals of reliability and safety in the submarine cable environment) titled: ‘The recovery of out of service cables.’ Currently, the ICPC has 17 ICPC Recommendations.
- 1973: ICPC produced its first film ‘The Catch That Nobody Wants.’ Since then, the ICPC has produced three more educational films.
- 1980: British Telecom International created the first draft crossing agreement. Later in 1998, ICPC produced the Recommendation titled: ‘Criteria to be Applied to Proposed Crossings of Submarine Cables and/or Pipelines.’
The ICPC has accomplished much throughout the years including: educational industry videos and published monographs, international joint workshops and an inaugural webinar. The ICPC continues to support peer-reviewed scientific research, publish submarine cable data, engage with the wider community as well as participate in UN Assembly meetings. By working cooperatively with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), European Subsea Cables Association (ESCA), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy and SubOptic, ICPC will always promote “sharing the seabed in harmony with others.” Also this year, the ICPC’s General Manager was interviewed on the flagship BBC World Service ‘Newshour’ programme, and the end of the segment, the interviewer signed off stating: ‘The International Cable Protection Committee – who ever knew there was such a thing!’ – apparently an increasing number of people around the world now appreciate the significance of submarine cables in promoting and protecting both national and global economies and international trade.
ICPC Seeks Marine Environmental Advisor (MEA)
Thursday, 25 October 2018
ICPC’s current Marine Environmental Advisor (Prof. Lionel Carter) will relinquish his formal role in June 2019 after a long, distinguished and successful period of service. For that reason, ICPC is seeking to interview suitable candidates for the post of Marine Environmental Advisor to participate in a period of transition and then take up the role from July 2019.
ICPC is largely volunteer-led, and with a modest honorarium, the role of MEA remains vital in protecting the ICPC’s excellent reputation for sound scholarship and peer-reviewed research (as well as communicating these issues effectively) concerning the protection of vital submarine cables within the global man-made and natural ecosystem. It offers the post-holder an opportunity to make a true difference in relation to the understanding of environmental and socio-economic matters related to the global submarine telecommunication and power cable network that is part of the environment, and which powers the modern economy.
Please carefully read the documents below and kindly direct them towards potential candidates who may be equipped to serve as the ICPC’s next Marine Environmental Advisor. Applications will be considered and screened by a special multi-disciplinary panel in the ICPC. At the discretion of the panel, suitable candidates may be invited to interview. Please pass this message along to suitable academics/candidates who you feel could take on the role as well.
For enquiries, send an e-mail to: email@example.com
ICPC Plenary 2019
Friday, 15 June 2018
ICPC Plenary 2019 will take place at the Courtyard Liberty Station Hotel in San Diego, California USA from 14-16 May 2019. Theme: Critical Infrastructure Across the Oceans – protecting submarine cables and the marine environment
On-Demand Webinar: A message from the ICPC
Friday, 01 June 2018
If you did not have the opportunity to register for ICPC’s inaugural webinar: “Cables and the Marine Environment - From Ocean to Cloud” hosted by ICPC’s Marine Environmental Advisor, it is now available ‘on-demand’ via the following link: https://www.iscpc.org/webinar/
If you have already registered but was not able to attend, please select ‘Already Registered?’ via the following link https://www.iscpc.org/webinar/
and you will be prompted to enter your e-mail address to view the webinar.
In this webinar, Lionel Carter presents and addresses questions from attendees in a hour-long insightful session.
Submarine fibre-optic cables underpin the digital revolution by providing a safe, cost effective means of moving vast amounts of data around the globe at the speed of light. Cables are thus of vital social and economic importance – fact long recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). With that thought in mind, and given the heightened interest in environmental protection, this webinar delves into cables and their interaction with the marine environment. The nature of cables, their effect on the seabed, response to natural hazards and resilience in an increasingly busy ocean, are all covered in this well-illustrated and entertaining talk.
For any enquiries e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subsea Cable Community Gains Voice in the United Nations
Thursday, 17 May 2018 The ICPC appoints its own UN Observer Representative and now the organisation has been awarded UN Consultative Status
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) is now in consultative status with the United Nations (UN). The grant of the status was recommended by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committee of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and approved by ECOSOC at its coordination and management meeting that took place from 16-18 April 2018.
The ICPC Marks its Diamond Jubilee Plenary by Addressing Three Future Challenges for Subsea Cables
Thursday, 26 April 2018
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) celebrated its 60th anniversary Plenary meeting by highlighting the three themes it is addressing to ensure that subsea cables continue to provide reliable long-term socioeconomic benefits to global communities.
ICPC Appoints New International Law Adviser
Thursday, 01 March 2018
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—On 1 March 2018, Mr. Kent Bressie becomes the new International Cable Law Adviser (ICLA) for the prominent organisation, International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC). Kent replaces Doug Burnett who left the role in late 2017 to accept a U.S. Government appointment.
2018 ICPC Plenary Call for Papers: Extended Date for Submission of Abstracts
Tuesday, 02 January 2018
The opportunity to submit an abstract
for the 2018 ICPC Diamond Jubilee Plenary has been extended to 5 February 2018.
ICPC returns to Cape Town to hold its 2018 Diamond Jubilee Plenary
Friday, 06 October 2017
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom— In October 1974, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) held its 13th Plenary in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2018, the Plenary will return to the coastal city for its upcoming session as well as celebrate 60 years of heritage since its incorporation in 1958.
Call for Papers: The 2018 ICPC Diamond Jubilee Plenary
Friday, 29 September 2017
The ICPC announces its Call for Papers for the 2018 Diamond Jubilee Plenary to be held in the Westin Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa, from 10 – 12 April 2018.
The event's theme is “Where Oceans Meet Cables - A global voice for the submarine cable community” and the deadline for abstracts is 5 January 2018.
Monday 4 September 2017: Multiple Cable Breaks off Hong Kong due to Typhoon Action
Tuesday, 05 September 2017
The ICPC is aware of multiple cable failures in the region of Hong Kong that are affecting the speed of Internet communications on some routes. The ICPC does not have any operational responsibility for the international submarine cable network, therefore its officers do not have any knowledge of the cause of this problem or what is being done to rectify it.
The primary purpose of the ICPC is to help its members to improve the security of their cables by providing a private forum in which relevant technical, legal and environmental information can be exchanged. In the aftermath of multiple cable failures, the ICPC will routinely consult its members after repair operations have been completed to see what lessons can be learned. Sometimes this exercise results in a Press Release from the ICPC, as happened following the Hengchun Earthquake on 26 December 2006. The Press Release on the Hengchun Earthquake can be found here [?]
. Background information on submarine cables can be found here
. The About Submarine Telecommunications Cables [?]
presentation is particularly recommended. Frequently Asked Questions can be found here
The Latest Insights into Submarine Cables and Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction
Friday, 30 June 2017
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—There is much anticipation and anxiety in the air at the United Nations in New York City, USA this July. Many observers understand that a potentially very significant change in the international law regarding oceans looms ahead. The forthcoming PrepCom 4 meeting, held at the UN headquarters, will review many complex issues associated with activities on the high seas beyond national jurisdiction. Issues include both scientific and legal aspects arising under the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS)—one of the world’s most successful pieces of international legislation.
ICPC Issues a New Recommendation on Submarine Cable Operations and Deep Seabed Mining
Friday, 23 June 2017
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) has issued its much-awaited Recommendation No. 17 titled: Submarine Cable Operations in Deep Seabed Mining Concessions Designated by the International Seabed Authority. The Recommendation is now publicly available upon request via: email@example.com.
The undersea cable community convenes in Montevideo to celebrate ICPC’s triumphant 50th Plenary Session
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—All good times eventually come to an end, and the 50th International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) Plenary session that was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 25-27 April 2017 was no exception.
ICPC Members from around the globe contributed to a successful annual Plenary with the theme of unmissable insights and challenges related to submarine cable planning, installation, protection, and maintenance.
The Other Side of Communication: Guardians of Global Connectivity
Monday, 24 April 2017
Ryan Wopschall (until 2016, a member of the Executive Committee of the ICPC) discusses the technology and infrastructure that is integral to present day connectivity and communication: without submarine fiber optic cables, the world would be a very different, and disconnected place. He examines the key actors and innovations that have brought the technology to where it is today, and the international regimes that have been tasked with its protection.
Source: Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Volume 41:1; Winter 2017.
2017 ICPC Plenary: 25-27 April
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
ICPC's 50th Plenary was held in Montevideo, Uruguay from 25-27 April 2017 in the Radisson Montevideo Hotel. The event's theme was "Unmissable insights and challenges in submarine cable planning, installation, protection and maintenance."
Environmental impact of Basslink subsea power cable is minor and temporary
Thursday, 22 December 2016
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—A recently published study of the 290 km-long Basslink power cable shows that its impact on the seabed and associated organisms is "transient and minor".
Basslink plays a key role in the distribution of power between the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania. To protect this infrastructure, the cable was placed in a trench cut into the seabed. However, near Tasmania the cable was placed in an iron pipe conduit in order to safely pass over a 500 m-wide zone of rocky reef and rubble.
Submarine Cables and BBNJ: ICPC publishes white paper and presents to the United Nations
Monday, 12 September 2016
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom— Submarine Cables and marine Biological Diversity of areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) was the topic of discussion on Monday, 29 August 2016 during a well-attended side event held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, New York. The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) presented on the organisation’s role within the ocean community and highlighted its newly published and informative white paper on the subject of submarine cables and BBNJ.
ICPC publishes white paper: "Submarine Cables and BBNJ"
Friday, 02 September 2016
Preparatory Committee established by General Assembly resolution 69/292: Development of an internationally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
ICPC Call for Papers: Abstracts due 9 January 2017
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
The ICPC announces the abstract deadline for the Call for Papers has been extended to 9 January 2017
. The theme for the 2017 ICPC Plenary will be: Unmissable insights and challenges in submarine cable planning, installation, protection and maintenance.
ICPC reflects upon the start of the Global Cable Communications Revolution—150 Years Ago today
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—27 July 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of the laying of the first, fully operational submarine cable to span an ocean. Linking Ireland and Newfoundland, the Atlantic cable was symbolically the start of a global communications revolution that continues today. Modern submarine fibre-optic cables—which are the direct descendants of the 1866 telegraphic cable—now account for over 95% of all trans-oceanic communications and underpin the Internet. This latest development has profoundly changed society and economies.
First Ever International Workshop on HVDC Power Cables in the Context of International Submarine Cables and Pipelines and the ABNJ
Tuesday, 03 May 2016
On 7-8 April 2016, in Ankara, Turkey, an important academic milestone was reached when High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables in the Area Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) or high seas proper were studied by a blue ribbon team of international legal scholars, diplomats, environmental scientists, and industry experts. This study was a part of the DEHUKAM International Workshop 2016 “Legal Status of Submarine Cables, Pipelines and ABNJ”, the inaugural workshop by the Research Center of the Sea and Maritime Law of Ankara University (DEHUKAM). The workshop was held jointly by the Center for Oceans Law and Policy (COLP) of the University of Virginia, the Center for International Law (CIL), National University of Singapore, the University of Bergen in Norway, and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC). State participation included representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Iceland. Distinguished participants from the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea included the President Judge Vladimir Viadimirovich Golitsyn (Russian Federation), Vice-President Judge Boulalem Bouguetaia (Algeria), and Judge Markiyan Kulyk (Ukraine).
The “Voice of the Global Subsea Cable Critical Infrastructure” resonates in Hamburg at the 2016 ICPC Plenary
Monday, 02 May 2016
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The Case for Cables– Protecting and Enhancing the Global Environment with Power and Communications, was the central theme to the successful and well-attended International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) Plenary meeting which was held in Hamburg, Germany from 12-14 April. With 63 Member organisations in attendance and representing 29 countries, the 49th annual ICPC Plenary gathered together influential people from the undersea cable industry to convene and exchange ideas. The success of the 2016 ICPC Plenary is largely attributed to all its Members—from every sector of the industry—joining together, being heard, and cementing the ICPC in its status as the industry’s international “voice” for the protection of undersea telecommunication and power cables.
ICPC comments on submarine cable security around the world
Thursday, 18 February 2016
LYMINGTON, UK—Fibre optic submarine cable security is one key priority among cable owners, operators, and chartered vessels. The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) represents member companies that own or operate about 98% of the world’s submarine cable systems as well as the cable ship companies laying and maintaining cables.
ICPC participates at Ghana Cable Awareness Workshop
Monday, 21 December 2015
LYMINGTON, UK—On 26 November 2015 in Accra, Ghana, a pioneering Submarine Cable Awareness Workshop was held to bring together cross-sectoral national and international organisations with an interest in the seabed in Ghana’s national waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, with particular reference to pipelines and submarine cables. These cables are of vital social and economic importance internationally, as they underpin the Internet and over 98% of trans-oceanic communications and data transfer.
Inaugural workshop held in Indonesia with the ICPC and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs
Friday, 04 December 2015
LYMINGTON, UK—On 18 November 2015 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a pioneering joint workshop was held by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) regarding submarine telecommunication cables in Indonesia. These cables are of vital social and economic importance as they underpin the Internet and over 98% of trans-oceanic communications and data transfer. Submarine cables are also a key component of Indonesia’s critical infrastructure as submarine cables provide the ideal means to connect the nation’s thousands of inhabited islands.
The Royal Society of New Zealand awards Hutton Medal to ICPC’s Marine Environmental Advisor
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
LYMINGTON, UK—Every year the Hutton Medal—an Earth, plant and animal sciences award—is granted by The Royal Society of New Zealand for outstanding work by a researcher and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) is pleased to announce Prof. Lionel Carter has received this prestigious honour.
Call for Papers for the 2016 ICPC Plenary from 12-14 April
Friday, 20 November 2015
The theme for the 2016 ICPC Plenary will be: The Case for Submarine Cables: Protecting and enhancing the global environment with power and communications.
Sharks are not the Nemesis of the Internet—ICPC Findings
Thursday, 02 July 2015
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—Last August 2014, a rediscovered YouTube video of a shark biting a subsea cable caused a media storm. According to some commentators, the video signified that worldwide telecommunications were under attack by sharks because submarine fibre-optic cables are the backbone of the global Internet. The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) has reviewed records of cable faults worldwide, and together with an assessment of the video, conclude that much of the media hype was incorrect. Essentially, sharks and other fish were responsible for less than 1% of all cable faults up to 2006. Since then, no such cable faults have been recorded.
The “voice of the undersea community” resonates in Hong Kong at the 2015 ICPC Plenary
Wednesday, 03 June 2015
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—Enhancing Submarine Cable Security and Co-operation in Balance with the Environment,
was the central theme to the successful and well-attended International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) Plenary meeting which was held recently in Telegraph Bay, Hong Kong SAR.
Submarine Cables and Deep Seabed Mining: A Successful and Foundational Workshop
Monday, 13 April 2015
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—In their inaugural workshop, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) and the International Seabed Authority (ISA)
held a joint seminar: “Submarine Cables and Deep Seabed Mining—Advancing Common Interest and Addressing UNCLOS ‘Due Regard’ Obligations” from 10-11 March 2015 in the New York offices of Douglas Burnett, ICPC’s International Cable Legal Advisor.
2015 ICPC Plenary Supported by Key Industry Players
Monday, 13 April 2015
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) will be holding its 2015 Plenary over 28-30, April 2015 at Le Méridien Cyberport in Telegraph Bay,
Hong Kong. With the central theme, Enhancing Submarine Cable Security and Co-operation in Balance with the Environment, the Plenary will provide a valuable meeting point for all sectors of the submarine cable industry to gather and exchange ideas in a region steeped in submarine cable history and rooted in 21st century technological development.
ICPC and SubOptic sign MoU to formalise mutual co-operation
Monday, 13 April 2015
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The two premier global organisations representing the submarine cable communication industry—the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) and SubOptic
—have formally signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise their relationship and will be seeking to further co-ordinate their activities to the benefit of the submarine cable networks community as a whole.
Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea: Final Workshop Report Published
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
The final workshop report, "Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea: Legal and Environmental Issues in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction," has been released by the co-sponsors: Sargasso Sea Commission, Centre for International Law of the National University of Singapore (CIL), George Washington University Law School, and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC). This report is the first ever multidisciplinary effort by scientists, the submarine cable industry, and government experts from Bermuda, the United Kingdom and the United States to study and report on environmental impacts of modern submarine fibre-optic telecommunications cables in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) and the high seas. This unique work was compiled from presentations, papers, and discussions at the workshop which was held on 23 October 2014 at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. The 49 page report highlights the value of collaborative work by 40 experts and participants working together in a candid exchange of data and views concerning the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the ABNJ/high seas environment. A copy of the Full Report can be downloaded below.
The Last Monument to Britain’s Submarine Cable Industry
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Enderby House and Enderby Wharf was the Greenwich, UK base of the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, who built most of the world’s early submarine cables and is the oldest continuously operating telecommunications factory in the world. In 1864 the factory manufactured the first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. From then until 1975, the factory continued to make submarine telecommunications cable. The Enderby Group seeks to preserve Enderby House and the riverside cable handling gear as a museum dedicated to our industry. This article about the Enderby House project appears in the Newcomen Society Newsletter called "Links".
A Report from the 2nd Cable Protection and Awareness Workshop, West Africa
Monday, 08 December 2014
For the 2014 event, 2nd Cable Protection and Awareness Workshop held in both Nigeria and Ghana, ICPC Member and operator Main One Cable Company led a week-long event in October informing local communities regarding the importance of undersea cables, specifically: identifying a cable’s location to avoid damage and ensure long-term protection.
2015 ICPC Plenary: Call for Papers
Monday, 08 December 2014
The theme for the 2015 Plenary will be: "Enhancing Submarine Cable Security and Co-operation in Balance with the Environment."
Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
LYMINGTON, United Kingdom - On 23rd October 2014, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), together with the Centre for International Law of the National University of Singapore, George Washington University Law School and the Sargasso Sea Commission, co-sponsored a workshop titled Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea – Legal and Environmental Issues Beyond National Jurisdiction at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.
2015 ICPC Plenary Meeting
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The next Plenary will be held in Hong Kong, 28-30 April 2015 in Le Meridien Cyberport in Telegraph Bay.
Science paper published
Thursday, 18 September 2014
New science paper on cable faults in the Strait of Luzon published in the US peer reviewed journal 'Oceanography'. Natural Hazards Page
Shark bites and cable faults
Thursday, 18 September 2014
A YouTube video (August 2014) of a shark biting a submarine cable attracted considerable media attention. The type of the featured cable, its depth and location are unknown. But on the basis of available data, the International Cable Protection Committee notes that cable damage from such attacks is historically rare.
ICPC Appoints New GM
Tuesday, 01 July 2014
As of July 1, 2014, Mr. Keith Schofield has been appointed General Manager of the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC).
2014 ICPC Plenary Meeting in Dubai: 18-20 March - A Huge Success
Thursday, 03 April 2014
Against a backdrop of rapidly changing natural and socio-economic environments, the International Cable Protection Committee held its 47th Plenary to discuss actual and potential impacts of such changes on submarine communication and power cable systems. Hosted in Dubai by E-marine, a major submarine cable solutions provider in the Middle East, the Plenary provided a forum for 120 delegates from 32 nations. 64 ICPC Members were represented by 99 of these delegates and their feedback indicates that this Plenary was a huge success.
The theme of the meeting - Managing Critical Infrastructure in a Changing Natural & Socio-Economic Environment - attracted experts from the cable industry, governments, legal profession and research organisations.
Australia's Amendments to its Pioneering Cable Protection Legislation Recognise the Value of Government Partnership with the ICPC for Protecting Critical Submarine Cable Infrastructure.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's speech before the Australian Parliament on 14 November 2013 acknowledges the smooth partnership enjoyed by the Australian government and the ICPC in promoting sound, practical and effective government policies that are designed to enhance the protection of submarine cables.
Enhancing Submarine Cable Security
Thursday, 14 October 2010
In October 2010, the ICPC announced that it has changed its rules to allow National Governments and companies that are key players in the submarine cable industry to be represented within its membership. The ICPC's objective in making this change is to foster improved cooperation between Government and Industry, which is deemed essential to enhance the security of submarine cables.