“Our goal is zero emissions”: Expedition lines lead the way toward sustainable cruising

“Our goal is zero emissions”: Expedition lines lead the way toward sustainable cruising

PONANT and Hurtigruten have both made major commitments to sustainable cruising lately, pledging to protect the fragile ecosystems the expedition ships visit as well as lessening their respective effects on climate change as a whole.

Speaking at the One Ocean Summit in Brest, France, Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT, shared five environmental commitments to protect the ocean, particularly the polar ecosystems.

The five commitments, some of which the luxury expedition line has already made progress with, include reducing sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions, reducing CO2 emissions by 15 per cent by 2026 and 30 per cent by 2030 compared to 2019, eliminating all single-use plastic aboard and ashore from 2022, ensure reuse and traceability of all waste by 2025, and embarking scientific research teams aboard the high polar exploration ship, Le Commandant Charcot.

According to Gastinel, all the company’s ships have already been converted to ultra-low sulphur diesel since 2019 and will soon all be equipped with catalytic systems that reduce NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions.

“By relying on tools such as digital navigation aids and weather routers, the company is further improving the energy efficiency of its ships. Connecting to the electricity supply in ports that are equipped with this facility, and the use of synthetic fuels like e-LNG, are also under constant review,” he said.

As has been implemented on the expedition ship, Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT is rolling out its “Zero Plastic” policy on all its ships. Key to this measure is a ban on single-use plastic water bottles across the fleet, thanks to the installation of systems to produce drinking water from seawater.

“In publicising these statements today, we also want to inspire other players to get involved,” he said.

Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first hybrid-electric LNG powered polar exploration ship, recently teamed up with the British polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough in its mission to support the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.

When it was realised both ships would coincidentally meet in Carroll Inlet at 73°15 south, it offered the perfect opportunity to combine the capabilities of both ships to work in tandem.

Le Commandant Charcot features a unique PC2 hull design, with the ability to sail in ‘double-acting mode’, specifically enabling the ship to tackle thicker and more dense ice; she does this more quickly and efficiently by sailing backwards. Le Commandant Charcot opened a channel by sailing astern, with the RRS Sir David Attenborough following behind, working to widen the channel. This collaboration enabled a 3NM channel to be opened in just 3 hours.

Hurtigruten Norway has initiated one of Europe’s largest environmental ship upgrades (supplied)

Meanwhile, Hurtigruten Norway has initiated one of Europe’s largest environmental ship upgrades enabling seven rebuilt ships to cut CO2 emissions by 25 per cent and NOx emissions by as much as 80 per cent once completed in 2023.

Three of the seven ships will be converted to hybrid ships with MS Richard With, which is currently at Myklebust Yard in northwestern Norway, to be fitted with brand new main engines and battery packs. The same will also be done on board MS Kong Harald and MS Nordlys.

Three other ships – MS Nordnorge, MS Nordkapp and MS Polarlys – will also be upgraded, and have SCR facilities installed on board, reducing NOx emissions by a massive 80 per cent. The last ship in the fleet, MS Vesterålen, was upgraded with brand new engines and SCR facilities already in 2019.

“This is the largest environmental upgrade in Hurtigruten’s history, and one of the largest of its kind in Europe. This will make a real impact in reducing emissions in Norwegian waters. The fact that such an investment also leads to ripple effects in the local communities along the coast, is something we are very proud of,” Hedda Felin, Hurtigruten Norway’s CEO, said.

“Our goal is zero emissions! But the technology is not mature enough yet, and we must do what we can to cut emissions with the best technology available today and extend the service life of the iconic ships we have in our fleet.”

After the ongoing green upgrade of the Hurtigruten Norway fleet, the Group will have six hybrid vessels. Hurtigruten Group stopped using heavy fuel oil more than a decade ago and were the first expedition cruise company to ban non-essential single-use plastic throughout our entire operation.

Featured image: Le Commandant Charcot (©Studio PONANT Olivier Blaud clair)

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