LIME reports major cable failure

The submarine cable system that runs north and south out of the Cayman Islands sustained a failure early Sunday that has affected internet and international calling service to the country.

The underwater cable system provides internet and international calling capacity for LIME in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The communications company’s initial findings were that its Maya-1 cable system sustained a “shunt fault” on one of its segments near the Half Moon Bay cable station in Cayman. The fault has prevented local power units from reaching necessary output level and has forced them into shutdown mode. One of the repeater units used to supply the power is about 29 miles out to sea.

“At this stage, there is no definitive information on the exact location of the impairment that is causing the shunt fault,” read a statement issued by LIME Monday, adding that the repair team has turned its efforts to the shore end of the cable system and divers are conducting a detailed survey. LIME expects the dive teams to identify possible impairments that led to the outage. 

The company said it has taken steps to restore as much internet traffic as possible through an alternate system. LIME officials said, as of late Monday, all restorable traffic had been activated.

For the moment, all internet customers may experience some degradation of internet service. Phone customers may also experience intermittent failures with international dialing. Both inbound and outbound calls will be impacted, the company said.

Not only LIME customers are affected by the outage. WestStar customers may also experience issues. Roughly 34 per cent of the Cayman international circuits are down, according to LIME. Logic issued a press release Monday night which indicated its customers had not been affected. 

“In addition to the ongoing inspections, LIME has also taken the preliminary step of advising a cable repair ship as a member of the Atlantic Cable Maintenance Agreement body, effectively placing them on standby in the event the fault is proven to be at sea,” a company press release noted.

LIME General Manager Tony Ritch said: “This is obviously a major outage for the country, and we apologise for this protracted downtime and impact to consumers and businesses. Regrettably, given the complexity of this system, it is taking quite some time to identify the fault.  At this stage we are expecting the system configuration changes that will commence in a few hours to yield positive results and restore the traffic.  Our local team is also working diligently to re-route traffic where possible to minimise the impact.  As more information becomes available, LIME will provide updates to the media and via various channels including text alerts to the wider base.

“Until we are able to conduct some additional tests (in the early hours of Tuesday morning) once the entire system is off-line, we may not be able to definitively identify the likely location of a possible cable fault.  Unfortunately, LIME will not be able to offer any additional details on the likely restoration time-frame until more information becomes available.”


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