Spies, Ships And Sharks: A History Of Attacks On Undersea Cables

U.S. officials claim Russia might be seeking secret underwater cables to cut off vital telecommunications to the West. Here are some bizarre ways communication cables have been severed in the past

(R. A. Di Ieso/Vocativ)
Oct 26, 2015 at 3:53 PM ET

U.S. officials are concerned a build up of Russian submarine activity near underwater communication cables might lead to a disruption of cables responsible for trillions of dollars in daily financial transactions. Washington claims the Moscow is specifically seeking secret cables laid deep in waters by the U.S. for military operations.

But most cables, which have been publicly mapped since the 1860s, can be accidentally damaged by any number of causes, including ships’ anchors, natural disasters and unwitting excavators. In most cases the cables are severed close to shore and can be repaired quickly.