France Telecom-Orange cable ship abandoned after fire

France Telecom-Orange has announced that one of its cable ships, the Chamarel, has had to be abandoned off the coast of Namibia after a fire broke out late in the afternoon of August 8.

France Telecom-Orange has announced that one of its cable ships, the Chamarel, has had to be abandoned off the coast of Namibia after a fire broke out late in the afternoon of August 8.

The fire was discovered as the Chamarel was returning from a repair operation on the SAT3-SAFE cable off the Namibian coast in the Atlantic Ocean. After attempting to fight the fire, the captain decided to abandon chip, and all 56 crew members left the Chamarel safely. A Namibian fishing vessel recovered the crew, who are now in the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, where they await their return home.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. France Telecom-Orange said it will launch an investigation into the matter with the assistance of Namibian authorities as soon as the vessel is recovered.

"This is a very serious incident, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the crew members for their courage in managing the situation,” said Thierry Bonhomme, senior executive vice president in charge of Networks and Carriers, and R&D. “The safety of our crew is our primary concern and we will look closely at the results of the investigation. I am also grateful for the support provided by the Namibian authorities."

The French service operator says that the incident has had no effect on the operation of submarine cables in the area. The Chamarel is one of six cable ships in France Telecom-Orange’s fleet. The fleet includes four vessels dedicated to maintenance services in the Mediterranean basin, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean; the Chamarel appears to be one of these. Two other vessels are used to lay new telecommunications submarine systems

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