Sat3-Safe cable unaffected by fire
Subsequent to a request by the Ministry of Transport, France Telecom-Orange removed any pollutants from the vessel and will possibly move her to a location where she will not pose any threat to the environment. The ship is currently located on sand banks 30 km from Henties Bay.
According to a recently issued report, every effort is being made by the company in charge of the salvaged operation to minimise the environmental impact of this incident. 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 moved 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 local authorities have shown that there is no significant pollution in the water.
All 56 crew members were safely rescued by a nearby fishing vessel without injury or incident. With the exception of several key officers, who have remained in Namibia to assist with salvage operations, the crew has now been repatriated.
This incident has had no impact on the submarine communications cable which links Portugal and Spain to South Africa with connections to several West African Countries along the route.
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, sailed this week to Cape Town. She will be available by the end of the month to intervene in any incidents affecting cables in the region.