Ponant has unveiled its high polar exploration vessel Le Commandant Charcot during an inauguration ceremony in Le Havre.
The 13th ship in the Ponant fleet has been described as the line’s most “ground-breaking” as it features a hybrid electric Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system.
On 24 September, Le Commandant Charcot – which took six years to design – became the first ship to be refuelled with LNG in France – again in Le Havre.
LNG emits 20 per cent less CO2 compared to conventional marine fuels, the line stated, and reduces NOx emissions by 85 per cent.
Ponant CEO Hervé Gastinel said: “The boldness of this project is not just about taking passengers to the far corners of the Arctic and the Antarctic, it is about doing it safely and following the same values and principles of seamanship that move us.
“Our values are first about respect for nature this nature that is so dear to us, all the more knowing how much we owe the oceans and the fragile eco-systems we travel.
“Polar regions, in particular, deserve the highest respect and attention. We are committed to this mission every day and today evermore.”
Speaking earlier in September, Gastinel added: “These LNG bunkering operations are the culmination of several years of analysis, engineering and trials to find the safest and most efficient way to perform this operation. The ship reached the geographic North Pole for the first time on 6 September 2021, using LNG throughout the long voyage.
“We are completely satisfied and particularly proud of the technical innovations developed on this ship which have enabled us to achieve such outstanding results in terms of performance.”
Le Commandant Charcot has 123 cabins and can carry up to 245 guests.
It will be able to reach polar destinations such as the geographic north pole, the Weddell sea, the Ross sea or Pierre-1st island, according to Ponant.
The line also added that the Polar Class PC2 ship “provides the scientific world with a platform for observation, research and analysis to study the polar eco-systems”.