France Telecom-Orange announced today that an unexplained fire had broken out on Thursday on the cable laying ship, the Chamarel, in the Atlantic Ocean off Namibia’s Skeleton Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew of 56 abandoned ship after attempts at firefighting failed to control the blaze. The crew was picked up by a Namibian fishing vessel and taken to Walvis Bay. No injuries were reported. The ship was returning from making repai to the Sat3/WASC/Safe submarine cable which connects Portugal and Spain to nine West African countries, circles around the southern tip of Africa, and connects to India and Malaysia.
As noted by Tim Conneally, writing for Beta News: “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).”
Thanks to Phil Leon for passing along the news.