Tonga Reconnects to the World – Southern Cross Cable Cut During Volcanic Eruption Fixed

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the cable maintenance ship Reliance Photo: vesselfinder.com

Wednesday 23 February 2022. Pasefika News. Internet connection has finally been restored in Tonga with the Southern Cross cable that connects the Kingdom to the outside, now repaired.

The Southern Cross Cable, cut during the volcanic eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai and subsequent tsunami last month, was repaired by Reliance a cable repair boat owned by the US first company Subcom, with a base in Samoa.

Chair of Tonga Cable Limited, Samuiela Fonua confirmed that the cable was restored and handed over to his company just before midday yesterday.

Fonua said he was very pleased to get the restored cable which resumes Tonga’s phone and internet fully after having limited internet for a month.

“We just had a long meeting with the cable repair team, we are preparing a presentation to the Prime Minster of Tonga tomorrow,” he said.

“It is all done now, the cable was handed over to us this morning just before noon, now it’s with the ISPs (Internet Service Providers).”

The cable repair ship Reliance took 20-days to repair the fibre-optic cable and finally handed it over after 24-hours of testing yesterday.

It has been a long journey for the Reliance which started out with a re-fit in Singapore at the time of the eruption, then it travelled to Papua New Guinea where the crew were picked up and vaccinated.

Then it sailed to Samoa where it has a base, to collect some spare cable before sailing a day-and-a-half to Tonga where it went to work on repairing the cable.

The ship never docked in Tonga and had a full medical team onboard in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Fonua said he would not know the full costs of the repair until Tonga Cable Limited received the invoice from the United States cable company Subcom.

“We won’t know the full cost of the repairs until we get an invoice from the company (Subcom), but I estimate it will cost at least a $US1 million,” he said.