‘Le Jacques-Cartier’, the last in the PONANT ‘EXPLORERS’ series of six expedition class cruise ships, has been awarded Bureau Veritas (BV) class notation NR614 for Underwater Radiated Noise (URN).
This award reflects PONANT’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its ships and operations, the company said.
NR614 establishes requirements for the measurement of underwater radiated noise and the ‘acoustic sound signature’ emitted by self-propelled ships to support the management and mitigation of the impact of noise on marine fauna in both shallow and deepwater.
‘Le Jacques-Cartier’ is one of the world’s few cruise ships to have obtained this certification.
“We are very happy to have obtained this certification recognising the years of research and development dedicated to the creation of the PONANT ‘EXPLORERS’ series. It perfectly illustrates PONANT’s commitment to making environmental protection its priority, right from the design of ships,” said Mathieu Petiteau, PONANT’s Director of Newbuilding, Research & Development.
The sound tests were carried out in September, off the coast of Morgat, located in the Gulf of Morbihan, Brittany. Using a measurement buoy in the form of a floating line with three hydrophones, BV experts with technical support from acoustic specialists Quiet Oceans analysed the sound radiation from the vessel to assess the vessel’s acoustic signature.
Bruno Dabouis, BV’s Vice President for South Europe and North America added: “PONANT has been implementing the latest green technologies for the construction of its PONANT ‘EXPLORERS’ series of sisterships and has now chosen to take a proactive approach to limiting underwater noise pollution.”
Eric Baudin, BV’s Head of the Measurement Department, explained that the class society’s approach promotes reliable data through a holistic and transparent process and measurements take into account the environment in which they were taken. “This ensures a measurement specific to the vessel,” he said.
The URN notation, valid for five years at a maximum speed of 13 knots, is provided in addition to the BV Comfort 1 certification, guaranteeing passengers the lowest possible noise impact level, already issued to the whole PONANT fleet by BV.
In 2017, the company supported the ECHO programme, an initiative taken by the Port of Vancouver. PONANT’s ships intentionally reduced speed in an important feeding area for whales, to reduce underwater noise in this area. Subsequently, PONANT decided to limit the average speed of all its vessels to 10 knots, regardless of the navigation zone to mitigate the impact on underwater fauna.
PONANT has also contributed to the European joint research project AQUO, which studies the modelling of underwater noise. It highlights the impact of sound radiation linked to maritime transport on wildlife and has notably published recommendations for optimising the construction of future ships.
This contribution continues with PIAQUO, an implementation project using the AQUO tools and approach.