The first LNG bunkering operation in the port of Le Havre, France, was completed last week. It also marked the extension of the Gasum network in France. The energy company highlighted the expansion noting that Le Havre is the second largest commercial port and the largest container port in France.
Gasum delivered LNG to French luxury cruise operator La Compagnie du PONANT for the company’s new Polar Explorer cruise ship, Commander Charcot. Bunkering operations were carried out on September 24 during the cruise liner’s inaugural stopover in a French port.
Commander Charcot, named after the famous polar scientist and French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, is the first hybrid-electric polar exploration vessel powered by LNG. Built by VARD in Norway, the vessel was delivered at the end of July 2021. This unique polar exploration vessel is the latest addition to PONANT’s fleet and is expected to sail the Arctic and Antarctic regions. During her early voyages, the ship first reached the geographic North Pole on September 6, using natural gas throughout her voyage.
“We have been working on this natural gas polar exploration vessel project for six years,” said Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT. They recalled that this was the second Liquefied Natural Gas bunkering operation carried out with Gasum since the delivery of the vessel on July 29. “These LNG bunkering operations represent the culmination of several years of analysis, engineering and testing to perform these operations safely and with maximum efficiency.”
The Commander Charcot is the first exploration cruise ship powered by LNG and also the first passenger ship equipped with high pressure membrane LNG tanks offering up to two months of autonomy on natural gas, which, according to Ponant, creates greater flexibility in its supply and operation.
The use of LNG was considered to be an important factor in the operation of the vessel. Commander Charcot will operate in fragile environments, such as the waters of the North Pole and Antarctica. Both regions have been under intense pressure to reduce and eliminate harmful emissions from their environment.
“This delivery marks an important step in our cooperation with PONANT and I am proud to support PONANT in reducing its emissions. At the same time, we have extended our delivery network to a port as important as Le Havre. Our services for shipping operators across Europe become even more relevant, in light of the demands of the EU’s recent Fit for 55 climate package proposal, ”said Jacob Granqvist, Vice-President of Gasum’s Maritime.
Until now, while the cruise industry has become one of the adopters of LNG-fuel technology, it has been limited to large cruise ships, in part due to the lack of a global network. fully developed LNG supply. Carnival Corporation has been at the forefront of the industry’s efforts by launching the first full-time LNG-powered cruise ship, the AIDANova in 2018. The platform also became the base for Costa Cruises ‘first LNG-fueled cruise ship introduced to the Mediterranean and P&O Cruises’ first LNG-fueled UK cruise ship. Recently, Carnival Cruise Line introduced the next LNG cruise ship, the first in North America, on Mardi Gras. Each of the brands is building additional LNG cruise ships and recently Fincantieri cut steel for Princess Cruises’ first LNG-fueled cruise ship. Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises also build LNG-fueled cruise ships.