Friday, August 10, 2012 -
9:42:00 PM -
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French cable layer vessel Chamarel grounded and was still burning unattended as of afternoon August 9. Locals reported two loud explosions heard, and around 1430 LT vessel ran aground on a sand bar. France Telecom-Orange said the cause of fire still unknown. There were 56 crew on board, all safe. The vessel was returning from a mission to repair the Sat3/WASC/Safe submarine cable which connects Portugal and Spain to nine West African countries, and then to India and Malaysia. The Chamarel, formerly known as CS Vercors, is actually a historically important vessel in international fiber optic communications. The ship was in service since 1975, and laid over a hundred thousand kilometers of cable, including AT&T's TAT-6 transatlantic cable, and EMOS-1 the first Israeli-built undersea cable. In 2000, the vessel was used to set the record for the deepest submarine cable at 1,610 meters (just over one mile).
France Telecom-Orange currently operates six cable ships, four are dedicated to maintenance services in the Mediterranean basin, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and two are used to lay new submarine cable. Previous news:
French cable laying vessel Chamarel on fire drifting off Namibia, abandoned by crew
Fire broke out on board of cable laying vessel Chamarel on August 8, when vessel was 68 miles north off Hentiesbay, Namibia, busy with laying cable from Cape Town to Europe. Initial reports indicated that a fire broke out on the bridge and then spread quickly to the rest of the vessel. Patrol boat Nataneul Maxwilili rescued the crew and took them to Walwis Bay, reportedly no one was injured, no casualities. Crew consists of some 40 plus people. Abandoned vessel is drifting off Namibian coast. The report compiled from the vesseltracker.com report and Namib Times news. Photos are from Facebook published by Namib Times newspaper staff. Cable laying vessel Chamarel IMO 7347718, GRT 8575, built 1974, flag Mauritius, manager FRANCE TELECOM MARINE.
Photos from Namib Times namibtimes.net (published in Facebook) and Allgemeine Zeitung az.com.na