SWAKOPMUND: The MV Chamarel, a cable-laying ship belonging to France Telecom-Orange which caught fire north of Henties Bay last Wednesday, was returning from a repair operation on the Sat3-Safe cable when the fire broke out.
The cable is one of a pair of communications cables which provides high speed digital links between Europe, west and southern Africa and the Far East.
The statement said the incident has had no immediate impact on submarine cables in the area, and the cables will continue to function normally.
France Telecom-Orange said in a media statement issued on Friday that the 56-member crew which had been on board the ship when the fire broke out tried to control the fire, but a decision was made to abandon the ship at around 20h00 on Wednesday evening.
All crew members were safely recovered by the fishing vessel ‘Moni’ and six of them were treated for slight injuries.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s acting Crime Investigations Coordinator for the Erongo Region, Inspector George Xoagub told Nampa on Thursday that a fire was detected at around 18h45 on Wednesday night on board the MV Chamarel, which was situated three kilometres (km) offshore at Mile 68 and about 10 km outside the town of Henties Bay.
The fire originated from the left (port) side of the ship.
The cause of the fire has not yet been established and a full investigation will be launched as soon as the vessel has been recovered.
The France Telecom-Orange group has stated that it will work with the Namibian authorities to ensure minimum environmental impact during the recovery operation.
France Telecom-Orange operates six cable ships, four of which are dedicated to maintenance services in the Mediterranean basin, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Two of the vessels specialise in laying new telecommunications submarine systems world-wide.