« The Commandant Charcot, a high polar exploration vessel of the Ponant company, reached the geographic North Pole yesterday, September 7 at 10:38 am (CET) », announced in a press release sent to AFP the luxury cruise company, specialized in unusual destinations. “It is the first French ship to reach the North Pole (90.00,000 °)”, according to the company and “the first ship sailing on liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reach this destination”.
The culmination of a « collective adventure »
This expedition was made without customers. Commandant Charcot‘s tourist season will begin on October 31 in Antarctica and in summer 2022 for the Arctic. « It is a great pride to have been at the helm of the first French ship to reach the geographic North Pole, the culmination of a collective adventure, » said Captain Étienne Garcia, quoted in the press release and who was at the helm with Commander Patrick Marchesseau.
The Commandant Charcot, a luxury vessel 150 meters long and 28 meters wide, is equipped with two tanks totaling 4,500 m3 of LNG as well as electric batteries allowing hybrid operation and « navigation without smoke or dust », according to the documentation of the group. Polar class PC2, it is equipped with a reinforced hull (icebreaker) hitherto reserved for transport ships or scientific expeditions.
Eco-designed, it has an advanced wastewater treatment system and the energy used on board is optimized with LED lamps or even braziers and heating benches operating thanks to the recovery of energy from the ship’s exhaust gases. Drinking water is produced on board from sea water and no waste is thrown away during the journey thanks to a large storage capacity.
Spaces are also provided to be made available to the scientific community, for example to install measuring instruments in the hull. Scientists will also be able to retrieve data from fish sonar and the instrument that continuously measures and displays the thickness of the ice, according to the company.