Ponant Icebreaker Named after French Polar Explorer
By Anne Kalosh.
Ponant is going to call its luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot, in honor of the French explorer Capt. Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who was known as “the gentleman of the poles.”
The 220-passenger, 30,000-gross-ton ship is scheduled to enter service in 2021. Le Commandant Charcot will give adventurous travelers the chance to discover the geographic North Pole (latitude 90 degrees North) and parts of Antarctica, such as the Ross Sea, Charcot Island and Peter Island. The intrepid types who book these voyages won’t experience typical cruises but rather polar odysseys.
In addition, Le Commandant Charcot will be fitted with a laboratory for oceanographic missions and research.
World’s first hybrid electric icebreaker
This world-first hybrid electric icebreaker, under construction at Fincantieri’s Vard shipyards, will be powered by liquefied natural gas, and there will be zero exhaust emissions when it operates in hybrid electric mode. This means Le Commandant Charcot will significantly reduce sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and carbon dioxide emissions.
Use of the latest batteries will make it possible to sail without using the engines for two to three hours at a stretch.
Plus, Le Commandant Charcot will be equipped with an advanced wastewater treatment system so its effluent will be pure as drinking water.
The vessel’s namesake was an emblematic figure of French polar expeditions starting in the early 1900s.
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1867, Charcot ventured to the Arctic for the first time in 1902. From 1903 to 1905, aboard Le Français and from 1908 to 1910 aboard Le Pourquoi-Pas, he reached the Antarctic regions. In 1909, Charcot located Graham Land on navigation charts, dropped anchor near Alexandra Land, and discovered the island that would bear his name. From 1920 to 1936, his scientific voyages led him from the Hebrides to Greenland’s east coast.
Pre-booking for Le Commandant Charcot at early bird prices is open now. Full-fare bookings will open April 11, 2019.
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