GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Saturday 18 May 2024
 8.3°C   WSW Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / No evidence that a fishing vessel caused telecom cable damage – SFA says

Repair work on the damaged Shefa-2 cable was carried out at the end of October off Shetland by the cable repair ship Cable Vigilance. Photo: Ronnie Robertson.

SHETLAND Fishermen’s Association (SFA) has strongly refuted as “pure speculation” any suggestion that the recent damage to the Shefa-2 telecommunication cable was caused by a fishing vessel.

Shetland suffered a major blackout last Thursday when the Faroese owned subsea cable, which already was damaged halfway between Faroe and Shetland, got another hit just east of the Shetland mainland – cutting off most mobile and internet based services.

While cable owner Faroese Telecom has always said the damage was likely to have been caused by a fishing vessel, a large section of the national media preferred the notion that it could have easily been an example of low level terrorism by Russia.

As repairs are likely to last into the weekend due to poor weather conditions, no-one has so far published any evidence that would support one option or the other.

It is understood that looking at AIS marine tracking was one factor behind the fishing boat assumption.

SFA executive officer Sheila Keith.

SFA executive officer Sheila Keith said all marine users should avoid cables as they know, or should know, where they are.

“At this time, it is purely speculation that it was a trawler that caused the damage to the telecoms cable. We certainly have not evidence to show that it was a Shetland vessel,” she said.

She added that it was the cable owners’ responsibility to ensure the integrity of the subsea infrastructure including its armour.

“Developers who get permissions to place cables, whether on known fishing grounds or not, should have to bury it or rock dump on top of the cable where burial is impossible,” she said.

“Post development an ROV survey of the cable should be carried out regularly surveys to ensure the cable remains buried and is where it should be as per the charts they are plotted on.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“If developers place a value on the infrastructure they place on the seabed they should be willing to spend money to protect it.”

She added: “This again highlights the concerns that the fishing industry have regarding the proliferation of cabling with the growth of wind farms developments around Shetland.

“We cannot afford for a spiders’ web of numerous cables, with multiple landing points on Shetland’s mainland to occur.

“We are calling for a limited number of cable corridors to reduce the impact on our valuable traditional fishing grounds. All cables should be buried with over trawl trials post development.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.