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PONANT Welcomes Hybrid Electric Polar Exploration Vessel

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PONANT, a leader in small ship expeditions, welcomes Le Commandant-Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar exploration vessel powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). On 29 July 2021, PONANT took delivery of Le Commandant-Charcot with a flag exchange ceremony at the VARD shipyard, a subsidiary of Fincantieri, in Norway. 

Inauguration Le Commandant Charcot © PONANT / Kristin Stoylen

“Delivery of Le Commandant-Charcot is both a culmination and the beginning of a new kind of odyssey for the company.  The construction of this prototype ship demanded extremely high standards in terms of quality. I am proud of the work that our teams have accomplished. We are welcoming into our fleet a ship that will offer so much more than just a voyage of exploration, but rather a truly inspiring and fascinating discovery of a still little-known polar world,” said Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT.

The delivery of Le Commandant-Charcot culminates six years of construction, partnering with a range of experts in their field, including Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic, and VARD, to design and build the polar vessel. With just 123 rooms, Le Commandant-Charcot is powered by electric batteries and liquified natural gas, resulting in zero emissions when in the hybrid electric mode – further strengthening the company’s commitment to sustainable tourism. 

Le Commandant Charcot ©PONANT / Nicolas Dubreuil

As a Polar Class PC2 ship, Le Commandant-Charcot will sail to some of the world’s most remote regions including the geographic North Pole, Greenland’s Natural Park, the Svalbard archipelago, the Bellinghausen Sea, and the Larsen Ice Shelf. The design also features the latest technologies for minimizing environmental impact, such as 100% waste sorted on board and a waste-water treatment system. Le Commandant-Charcot will also feature an onboard laboratory, providing the scientific community with a platform for observation, research, and analysis of extreme polar regions in the Arctic and Antarctic. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in citizen science, helping to gather data on the water, ice, and biodiversity. Other guest activities will include kayaking, hovercraft, ice fishing, hiking, and lectures led by experts. 

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