The French cable-laying vessel 'Chamarel', 5,900 DWT, suffered an engine room fire off the Namibian coast, which spread rapidly and eventually burnt down the accommodation. The vessel drifted to shore were it grounded on the sandy beach of the Skeleton Coast, a very remote location.

SMIT Salvage was contracted to remove all immediate environmental threats from the vessel. This operation was undertaken by a joint team from SMIT’s Cape Town and Rotterdam bases. As the Chamarel was lying in the surf zone, access to the vessel was difficult, but this was overcome by using helicopters. Oil was pumped to a buffer tank on board, then to a reception bladder ashore by using a cable bridge which had been installed between the vessel and the beach. From the reception bladder the recovered oil was ultimately transferred to road tankers for transport to an official oil treatment facility. All bunkers were successfully removed from the vessel thereby removing the environmental threat.

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