I rang my bank call centre today and, as usual, it was diverted to
their Indian call centre. Unusually, I then got this message: "We
apologise for disruption to our service, but we cannot receive your
call at the moment. Please try again later".
I wondered what had happened and, being in Asia, they knew the deal.
Apparently a ship
was unsure whereabouts they were off the coast of Egypt. As they
couldn’t work out where they were, they dropped anchor to hang around
for a while. Unfortunately, as they dropped anchor, they didn’t
realise they were next to two key underwater internet cables owned by
As they lolled about in the Egyptian waters, their
anchor dragged under these cables and severed one cable whilst ripping out
the other, causing significant damage.
South Asia and the Middle East are disconnected from the internet.
70% of Egypt’s internet access was impacted, leaving Cairo with no
access for the whole day. When asked about the impact on the banking
system Tarek Amer, Egypt’s deputy central bank governor, is reported
to have said: “We are disappointed [with] the service and will consider
alternatives for the banking system if this happens again.”
I’m sure you will
Tarek, as it’s a bit difficult to communicate without the internet
these days, isn’t it? SWIFTNet? Nope. Internet banking? Nope.
Finextra? Nope. Not forgetting all the other things we do online
these days 🙂
What could be worse?!
Ah well, at least you won’t have to put up with my tut every day.
Meanwhile, India’s bandwidth was also cut by
over half, causing their offshore call centre services a big issue. It
will take a fortnight or so to mend, and I expect that two weeks of
unpaid leave will leave India’s major workforce steaming a bit for
leaving them in the ship.
The lesson is obviously: "to contact your banker, don’t be an anchor".