The operation to salvage France Telecom-Orange’s cable ship (http://www.orange.com), the Chamarel, which ran aground following a fire on 8 August, is now underway. The ship is currently located on sand banks 30 km from Henties Bay in Namibia. Every effort is being made by the Group and the experts in charge of the salvage operation to minimize the environmental impact of this incident.
August 20, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The operation to salvage France Telecom-Orange’s cable ship (http://www.orange.com), the Chamarel, which ran aground following a fire on 8 August, is now underway. The ship is currently located on sand banks 30 km from Henties Bay in Namibia. Every effort is being made by the Group and the experts in charge of the salvage operation to minimize the environmental impact of this incident.
The Namibian Ministry of Transport has requested that France Telecom-Orange remove any pollutants from the vessel and move her to a location where she will not pose any threat to the environment. In agreement with the insurance companies, a specialist company, Smit Salvage, has been appointed to oversee these operations.
Following an initial assessment of damage to the vessel, the risk of pollution is minimal and can be controlled. The fuel bunkers, which are largely undamaged, currently contain less than a quarter of the vessel’s total capacity of marine gas oil, most of the fuel having already been used during the maintenance operation prior to the fire or burnt off during the fire.
Although the exact timing remains subject to meteorological conditions, work is already underway to pump the remaining fuel ashore into mobile tanks, which will then be removed via a temporary road. As an additional precaution, a floating barrage has also been put in place around the vessel to contain any spillages.
At the present time, measures taken by Namibian authorities have shown that there is no significant pollution in the water.
All 56 crew members were safely recovered by a nearby fishing vessel without injury or incident. With the exception of several key officers, who have remained in Namibia to assist with ongoing operations, the crew has now been repatriated.
This incident has no impact on submarine cables in the area which will continue to function normally. FT Marine, a fully-owned subsidiary of France Telecom-Orange, has taken all appropriate measures to manage maintenance operations. Notably, another of FT Marine’s cable ships, the Leon Thevenin, will sail on 21 August to Cape Town in South Africa. She will be available by the end of the month to intervene in any incidents affecting cables in the region.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of France Telecom – Orange.
Background on the Group’s marine activity
France Telecom-Orange 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.
France Telecom-Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 45.3 billion euros for 2011 and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 30 June 2012, including 105,000 employees in France. Present in 33 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 224 million customers at 30 June 2012, including 166 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.
With its industrial project, “conquests 2015″, Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group’s ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.
France Telecom (NYSE:FTE) is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris (compartment A) and on the New York Stock Exchange.
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