Maritime Infrastructure Protection: Agenda for a Secure and Resilient Undersea Cable Network

Undersea Cables 2023
The CS Lodbrog lays submarine cable near an offshore oil and gas platform. (Source: Alcatel-Lucent/Flickr)

The ocean floor is the backbone of modern digital infrastructure, supporting millions of kilometers of fiber-optic data cables. These cables are essential for global connectivity. They are also part of a diverse range of undersea installations, from gas pipelines to the power lines that connect windfarms to shore. In centuries past, maritime security mainly concerned shipping lanes and ports; today, protecting what is under the sea is just as important.

At the same time, the risks to fiber-optic cables have become unignorable. Recent incidents in the Baltic Sea – including severe damage to a Russian data cable, along with earlier ruptures in the Balticconnector and Nord Stream pipelines – have stoked concerns over the safety of critical infrastructure in the region. Germany, alongside its international partners, faces the challenge of securing a vulnerable, highly interconnected system. 

To advise German policymakers on the security aspects of undersea fiber-optic cables, GPPi will map the maritime security strategies and capacity-building endeavors proliferating at the national, regional and global levels. With informed action, it is possible to enhance the resilience of maritime infrastructure and safeguard the vital subsea cables that underpin our global communication networks.

This project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

For more information, please contact Amanda Kraley.