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Commander Charcot supports a research vessel

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RRS Sir David Attenborough focuses on science and logistical support for UK research stations. At the time, he was supporting the Thwaites Glacier International Collaboration – a project made up of British and American scientists studying one of the most unstable glaciers on the continent.

Cooperation between the two emerged when it became apparent that the two vessels would meet at Carroll Inlet at 73°15 South during their respective operations.

“When we realized we had the opportunity to work together to support RRS Sir David Attenborough, we immediately left,” explained Captain Le Commandant Charcot Patrick Marchesseau. “This cooperation fully illustrates the values ​​of Ponant, which was founded by sailors and is committed to a scientific approach, and shows what can be achieved by working as a team.

Logistics support

A three-nmi channel was opened in three hours; Commander Charcot made the initial opening sailing behind, with RRS Mr David Attenborough following behind, working to widen the channel.

Formerly the Ponant ship departed for her next destination, sea ice conditions were against the RRS Sir David Attenborough which had to turn back from her location, close to her intended laydown site.

Ongoing collaboration

According to Capt. Marchesseau, Ponant seeks to collaborate with RRS in the future, if Commander Charcot’s program allows it, ‘…it was a unique opportunity for our guests to see firsthand the challenges of polar science. We are already discussing the possibility of continuing to collaborate with RRS Sir David Attenborough on future travel where our itinerary permits.

Expedition voyages aboard Commandant Charcot include voyages to Antarctica and the North Pole. Scientists can use the ship to conduct their research, using its onboard laboratories.

Design features
The LNG-electric hybrid Commander Charcot entered service last year. It features a PC2 hull, with the ability to cruise in “double acting mode” – a feature that allows the vessel to tackle thicker ice, a process performed more efficiently when sailing backwards.