France Telecom-Orange announces a major incident on one of its cable ships off the coast of Namibia

France Telecom-Orange has suffered a major incident on its cable-ship, the Chamarel.

August 13, 2012

France Telecom-Orange (http://www.orange.com) has suffered a major incident on its cable-ship, the Chamarel. A fire broke out on the ship late afternoon on 8 August while returning from a repair operation on the Sat3-Safe cable off the coast of Namibia in the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the crew’s efforts to control the fire, the decision was made to abandon the ship at around 8pm local time. All 56 crew members were safely recovered by a Namibian fishing vessel without injury or incident. The crew is currently located at the Namibian port, Walvis Bay and will be repatriated in the coming days.

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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 Group will also work with the Namibian authorities to ensure minimum environmental impact during the recovery operation.

Thierry Bonhomme, Senior Executive Vice President in charge of Networks and Carriers, and R&D, said “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. 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.”

This incident has no immediate impact on submarine cables in the area, which will continue to function normally. The Group will take all appropriate measures to manage maintenance operations that had been scheduled for the coming days.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Orange.

Background on the Group’s marine activity

France Telecom-Orange (http://www.orange.com) operates six cable ships and is one of the leading players in the industry. Four vessels are dedicated to maintenance services in the Mediterranean basin, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Two vessels are specialized in laying new telecommunications submarine systems worldwide. These are the René Descartes, the flagship of the Group’s subsidiary FT Marine, and the Teliri, which is operated by the subsidiary Elettra.

France Telecom-Orange’s submarine cable activity plays an important role in the Group’s overall ambitions to improve network accessibility across the world and to meet customer expectations for improved quality of service across its global network.