There's an old expression that suggests one use the right tool for the right job. If you want fish, hire fishermen. If you hire those same fisherman to remove submerged wiring, what do you get? Well the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province of Vietnam decided to find out by hiring some local fishermen to help haul some 30+ year old copper cable from the seabed. What was the result? Nearly 27 miles of fiber optic cable that wasn't meant to be removed is now gone, nearly 7 miles of which was actually owned by a company out of Singapore!
"The incident started a year ago when Vietnamese province Ba Ria-Vung Tau authorized fisherman to rip up undersea copper lines that were laid before 1975. They had planned to sell the copper as scrap. What the local government did not realize was that the fishermen weren't able to tell the difference between copper lines and fiber optic lines, therefore taking roughly 43 km of fiber optic cable—over half of it belonging to a company in Singapore. One Vietnamese newspaper reported that a 11 km section of the cable that transmits data to Thailand and Hong Kong would cost $5.8 million to replace."
Thankfully the fishermen are off the case and their license to salvage copper has been revoked, at least temporarily. The Ministry of Posts and Telematics has launched an education campaign to help the Fishermen discern which wiring needs to be removed and which wiring shouldn't be. This seems to indicate that there could very well be some intent to let the fishermen have another try. So if people you know in Vietnam or other parts of Asia drop off the internet for a few days don't be so hasty to chalk it up to natural disasters, it could just be the local fishermen.