France Telecom-Orange has revealed that the crew of one of its cable maintenance vessels had to abandon ship on Wednesday after a fire broke out.
FT-O said all 56 crew were safely recovered by a fishing vessel off the coast of Namibia and will be repatriated “in the coming days”.
The fire broke out on the Chamarel, one of six cable ships the operator owns, while it was returning from a repair operation on the Sat3-Safe submarine cable, which links Europe to South Africa.
FT-O said 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.
"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,” said Thierry Bonhomme, Senior Executive Vice President in charge of Networks and Carriers, and R&D.
There was no risk of immediate impact on submarine cables in the area, which will continue to function normally, FT-O added.