BY: PENI KOMAISAVAI
A fuel tanker owned by Turkish company Duzgit Venture, is under scrutiny by Tongan Authorities for allegedly cutting the Kingdom’s optic fibre cable.
This left the Kingdom of Tonga disconnected from the world for more than two weeks.
It is believed that the cuts in Tonga’s international and domestic subsea cable lines on January 20 were caused by a dragging anchor.
A TVNZ report reveals that satellite images and data indicated the tanker was at the same place at the same time when the four breaks in the cable occurred. The satellite imagery showed how the tanker made unusual circular track across the no anchor area where the cables were cut.
The damage to the two cable lines cost the Tongan Government around $US2million to repair.
Businesses were temporarily crippled, including the tourism sector which relies on the Internet for flight bookings and accommodation reservations.
The links are owned and operated by Tonga Cable Limited (TCL), whose shareholders are the Kingdom of Tonga (83 per cent) and Tonga Communications Corporations (17 per cent).
TNVZ says there’s also questions about why the Duzgit Venture vessel arrived on a Sunday despite vessels being barred from entering the port area on the Sabbath.
Representatives from the company have reportedly met with Tongan Ports Authority in February and had reassured their cooperation during the course of the investigation.
Their fleet manager Kursad Ozturk told TVNZ they would be commenting on the matter “once the facts had been assessed.”