Mauritian underwater cable repair vessel Leon Thevenin to the rescue!

According to News24, four of the nine subsea cables that connect South Africa to the world are currently damaged, as incidents on two different sides of the continent resulted in widespread internet outages in South Africa on March 14.

Small subsea fibre-optic cables stretching along both sides of the continent act as information highways, allowing for the rapid transfer of information critical to the proper functioning of the internet.

Three cables on the west coast of Africa snapped simultaneously, Microsoft confirmed on Thursday afternoon.

“We have determined that multiple fibre cables on the west coast of Africa – West African Cable System (WACS), MainOne, South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) and Africa Coast To Europe (ACE) – have been impacted which reduced total capacity supporting our regions in South Africa,” read a notice published on the Microsoft Azure website.


The severity of the outage was likely compounded by a break in the Seacom Subsea Cable in the Red Sea, which occurred in late February. Bringing the total number of damaged cables to four out of nine.


Enter Leon Thevenin

Currently moored in Cape Town, the vessel, named after the French engineer Leon Thevenin, stands at the forefront of undersea cable maintenance and repair. Operated by a skilled crew and equipped with cutting-edge technology, it is designed specifically to address undersea cable faults efficiently and effectively. Its presence in Cape Town signifies readiness to swiftly respond to any disruptions along the Ivory Coast.


Leon Thevenin is equipped with a suite of advanced tools and machinery tailored for undersea cable repair. Its arsenal includes remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of descending to great depths and manoeuvring with precision. These ROVs enable visual inspections, cable cutting, and the deployment of specialized repair equipment.


Additionally, the vessel boasts dynamic positioning systems, ensuring it remains stable and precisely positioned above the repair site, even in challenging sea conditions. This capability is crucial for executing delicate repair operations with accuracy.



While there are no official statements made yet on a timeline of repair, we do know that the vessel is currently moored in Cape Town and is undergoing preparations for departure to arrive at its destination along the West Coast of Africa. Some sources are quoted as saying that it could take weeks until the issue is resolved.

Stay tuned for further updates as this is a developing story.

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