Turkish tanker owner accused of knocking out Tonga’s communications system faces big bill

Istanbul owner DSM Gemi Isletmeciligi faces an especially large phone bill this month with one of its tankers accused of plunging a whole nation into a communication blackout.

The Tongan government is looking to get the company to pay up after its vessel, Duzgit Venture, dragged anchor, allegedly severing the island nation’s fibre optic cable, knocking out the kingdom’s entire mobile and internet services for more than a fortnight from January 20 this year.

The Duzgit Venture regularly brings essential fuel and gas to the Pacific.

The communication outage from the chopped cable cost Tonga more than $2m, the government has estimated. Local authorities are still investigating the accident, but the Duzgit Venture is understood to be the main focus of the investigation.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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