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Air Corps and navy called into action to monitor Russian Government vessels sailing in the area of the recently-laid Galway to Iceland communications subsea cable

Irish defence forces aircraft and ships were called to action off the coast of Galway after being alerted to the presence of two Russian government boats cruising in the region of the newly constructed Galway-Iceland communications subsea cable, last week.

Due to their manoeuvres around the IRIS high-speed underwater communications cable, which became operational last year and runs west off the Galway coast, the two Russian boats, the Umka and the Bakhtemir, generated major worries among Irish military authorities.

Iris, a new high-speed subsea cable system that connects Galway to Iceland and covers roughly 1,700 km in length, is now complete and marks the first direct connection between the two nations.

Farice, an Icelandic government-owned telecommunications service business, is responsible for its deployment and maintenance. Farice currently operates two additional subsea cables connecting Iceland to Scotland and Denmark.

Iris is set to significantly expand the volume and diversity of internet connections to Ireland, running between Galway Bay and Thorlakshofn on Iceland’s south coast—a location chosen for its proximity to both Reykjavik and the country’s booming data centre sector.

The arrival of the Farice system in Galway will give direct high-capacity linkages to Iceland as well as Northern Europe via Denmark, significantly increasing capacity and connectivity in the Galway region.

However, with tensions rising following the recent Nord Stream pipeline sabotage, there is intensified monitoring of any activity near such vital subsea facilities, and the Irish Defence Forces were startled when they detected the two Russian vessels over the cable path this week.

Both ships were involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction, which earned them US government approval.

However, it is now thought that their circuitous route was taken to escape poor weather rather than for strategic reasons.

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