Orange progresses with Chamarel salvage operation

Stricken vessel may have to be dismantled and removed
The Chamarel is being salvaged off the coast of Namibia.
The Chamarel is being salvaged off the coast of Namibia.

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French telecom operator Orange is continuing with its efforts to salvage its stricken cabling ship, Chamarel, which was destroyed by fire off the coast of Namibia last month.

The telco said that Smit Salvage, the specialist company that it hired to handle the salvage operation, is continuing to empty all pollutants from the vessel. Divers had almost completed checking the ship’s eleven fuel bunkers for fuel, Orange confirmed late last week. “Any remaining fuel will be pumped out of the bunkers. This operation should be completed over the next few days,” an Orange spokesman said.

Orange added that Smit Salvage had so far found “no significant pollution” around the vessel, while a survey of the damage indicated that the risk of pollution was minimal and manageable.

The spokesman added that it remained unclear whether or not the ship would be moved, as discussions with Namibian authorities were ongoing. “If the decision is made to remove the vessel, then SMIT Salvage have confirmed that the vessel must first be dismantled before being removed,” the spokesman said.

Another of France Telecom’s cable-ships, the Thévenin, will arrive in Cape Town on September 12 and will take responsibility for all operations that were previously managed by the Chamarel, the telco said.

A picture gallery of the Chamarel can be viewed here.

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