After being fitted out in VARD's Norwegian shipyard in Soviknes, Le Commandant-Charcot arrived on July 21 in Saint-Nazaire, to be placed in Joubert dry dock. The work to fit the propulsion systems of the vessel was entrusted to the naval department of Eiffage Energie Systemes-Clemessy Services.
The pair of Azipod ABB (azimuthing electric podded drive) propulsors, delivered in advance to the yard, are the electric motors driving 5 propeller blades, with the structure able to pivot 360°. These provide propulsion in all directions allowing great maneuverability, particularly in the polar regions where the newbuild will sail.
In parallel with the fitting work, the hull of the ship will also be painted. PONANT's Le Commandant-Charcot will then return to Soviknes shipyard, where the fitting out will be finished, prior to delivery scheduled for 2021.
Equipped with a total of 135 staterooms, Le Commandant-Charcot is due to become the first polar exploration ship operating on a hybrid electric LNG (liquefied natural gas) system. The major innovation is testimony to the solid commitment of the company to sustainable tourism with a minimal environmental impact.
PONANT decided to make the Le Commandant-Charcot ship available to the scientific community. She will be fitted out with infrastructure (staterooms, laboratories) and materials at the disposal of scientists. Thus, she will offer a platform for research, observation, and analysis of the air, ice, water, and biodiversity in the extreme polar regions.