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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

CS Vercors
by Bill Glover

CS VERCORS / CS CHAMAREL

Built  1975 by Societé Nouvelle des Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre.

Length 433.0'  Breadth 59.4'  Depth 24.0'  Gross tonnage 5886.

CS Vercors at Calais

At launch the vessel became the main cable laying ship based at La Seyne sur Mer. Fitted with three cable tanks with a capacity of 1330 nm or 3200 tonnes of lightweight cable, storage for 136 repeaters is also provided. Both forward and aft paying out gear was fitted, built by the shipbuilders.

CS Vercors at Southampton
Image courtesy of David Watson

Renamed Chamarel and transferred to the France Telecom Marine subsidiary Chamarel Marine Services. Based at Cape Town for maintenance work on SAT 3, WASC and SAFE cables.

After carrying out repairs to the SAT3/SAFE submarine cables off Namibia, CS Chamarel was sailing back to Cape Town, when fire broke out on the bridge, in the afternoon of Wednesday 8 August 2012, when the ship was about 100 km (54 knots) north west of Walvis Bay. As the fire could not be contained. the decision to abandon ship was taken on Thursday at 8.00 pm local time (7.00 pm GMT). The crew of 56 were uninjured and were rescued by the Namibian Ministries of Fisheries and Marine Resources vessel Nathanial Maxuilili and taken to Walvis Bay.

The following day, the ship, severely damaged, went aground on Skeleton Coast, Namibia. This was the second fire in successive years aboard the ship. During September - October 2011 repairs were carried out in the engine room following a fire.

On 20 August work began to salvage the vessel and the company Smit Salvage was contracted to carry out the work. Fuel oil and other pollutants remaining aboard the ship were pumped into tankers and transported away via a temporary road constructed for the purpose. Booms were placed around the ship to prevent any spillage from spreading and contaminating marine life. CS Chamarel has now been declared a total loss.

CS Leon Thevinon left France on 21 August to take over maintenance duties and will also be based at Cape Town.

CS Chamarel (formerly CS Vercors).
The old name can still be seen.
Image courtesy of Bob Shackleton

CABLE WORK

1975 St Raphael - La Foux
1975 ANNIBAL France - Tunisia
1976 UK - France  Two separate cables laid on this route
1976 TAT 6  French & American shore ends
1976 MARPAL  France - Italy
1977 AMITIE  France - Tetuan
1977 ANTINEA  Morocco - Senegal - Ivory Coast
1977 Corsica - Marseilles
1978 England - France
1978 Morocco - France
1980 Greece - Syria
1981 ARTEMIS  France - Greece No 2
1981 ATLANTIS  Portugal - Senegal 
1982 TAT 7 USA - UK
1982 Portugal - Morocco
1982 TAT 7 USA - UK
1983 Denmark - Holland
1983 MERIDIEN  Belgium - Spain
1983 DIDON  France - Tunisia
1984 Surveyed route for SEA ME WE Suez - Colombo
1984 MESING  Indonesia - Singapore
1984 France - Morocco
1984-5 SEA ME WE 1
1986 France - Corsica No 3
1988 TAT 8  USA - UK - France
1989 HAW 4 Hawaii - USA
1989 PENCAN 4  Spain - Canary Islands
1989 Italy coastal cables
1990 Spain - Melilla
1991 EMOS 1  Italy - Turkey - Israel
1991 Italy - Spain
1992 TASMAN 2  Australia - New Zealand
1992 TAT 9  USA - Canada - UK - France - Spain
1992 EURAFRICA  France - Portugal - Morocco - Madeira
1993 PACRIMEAST  Hawaii - New Zealand
1994 SEA ME WE 2
1994 COLUMBUS 2  Italy - Madeira - Canary Islands - USA - Mexico
1994 Spain - Morocco
1995 TAT 12  USA - UK
1995 TAT 13  USA - UK - France
1995 SEA ME WE 3
1995 ARIANE 2  France - Greece
1996 ITUR  Italy - Turkey - Ukraine
1996 KAFOS  Turkey – Bulgaria
1996 BUGIO: Sesimbra - Carcavelos, Portugal
1996 TAGIDE 2: France - Portugal
1996 Novorossiysk - Sochi, Russia
1997 ALETAR: Egypt - Syria
1997 BERYTAR: Syria - Lebanon
1999 SEA ME WE 3
2000 SOUTHERN CROSS: Australia - USA
2001 HIBERNIA: UK - Ireland - Canada - USA
2001 TAT 14: USA - Denmark - Germany - France  - UK – USA
2001 EAST ASIA CROSSING: Hong Kong - Taiwan - Korea - Japan
2002 SAFE:  South Africa - Reunion - Mauritius - India - Malaysia
Three CS Vercors postcards
Images courtesy of David Watson

Last revised: 1 October, 2012

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com