Gasum bunkered LNG to PONANT’s new polar explorer in France

This operation marked Gasum’s first LNG delivery in France and also the first LNG bunker operation in the port of Le Havre.

Gasum bunkered LNG to PONANT’s new polar explorer in France
Photo: Gasum

On 24th September, in the port of Le Havre, France, Gasum bunkered Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT’s latest LNG fueled newbuilt polar explorer. 

The energy company Gasum has delivered LNG as maritime fuel to the French luxury cruise operator La Compagnie du PONANT (PONANT) in Le Havre, France. The LNG was delivered to PONANT ’s newly built polar explorer Le Commandant Charcot in its inaugural call to a French port on the 24th of September 2021. This bunker operation was Gasum’s first LNG delivery in France and marked a further milestone in the extension of the company’s delivery network. It was also the first LNG bunkering ever performed in Le Havre, which is the second largest commercial port and the largest container port in France.

Le Commandant Charcot, named after the renowned French polar scientist and explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, is the first hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG. This unique  polar exploration vessel is the latest addition to PONANT’s fleet and is set to sail the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT, said:

"We have been working on this natural gas powered polar exploration ship project for 6 years and this is already the second Liquefied Natural Gas bunkering operation we have carried out with Gasum since the delivery of the ship on 29th July 2021. 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 ship reached the Geographic North Pole for the first time on 6th September 2021, using natural gas throughout its journey.  We are fully satisfied and particularly proud of the technical innovations developed on this ship that have enabled us to achieve this exceptional performance.

Le Commandant Charcot is the first passenger ship equipped with high pressure membrane LNG tanks offering up to 2 months of autonomy on natural gas, greater flexibility in its bunkering and operation, and guaranteeing enhanced safety.

Le Commandant Charcot paves the way for new and more environmentally friendly natural gas propulsion methods and helps to meet the CO2 reduction targets set out in the Paris Agreement.” 

Reducing emissions is crucial as Le Commandant Charcot will be operating in  fragile environments, such as the waters of the North Pole and Antarctica. LNG is currently the most environmentally friendly maritime fuel available. Switching to LNG removes completely SoX and particle emissions and reduces NoX emissions up to 85%. LNG also emits at least 20 % less CO2 when compared to traditional maritime fuels. 

Maritime traffic contributes up to 3 % of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, which contributes directly to global warming. Gasum is leading the way towards a cleaner future for maritime transport by operating as a premium supplier of LNG and an expert in bunkering services.

Jacob Granqvist, Vice President of Gasum’s Maritime, says:

“This delivery marks an important step in our cooperation with PONANT and I am proud to support PONANT in reducing their emissions. At the same time we expand our delivery network to a port as significant as Le Havre. Our services for maritime operators all over Europe are becoming even more relevant, in the light of the requirements of the EU’s recent Fit for 55 -climate package proposal."

LNG is rapidly becoming more common as a maritime fuel, as switching to it is one of the concrete actions that can be taken towards significantly reducing maritime traffic’s climate impact. As a fuel it is interchangeable with 100 % renewable liquefied biogas (LBG) which means that it can be mixed with and even replaced by LBG. As a fuel LBG is even cleaner than LNG as it can reduce CO2 emissions over its lifetime cycle up to 90 %.