PONANT inaugurates Le Commandant Charcot,
first high polar exploration vessel.

On 28 September 2021, PONANT launched its first high polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot during a very emotional ceremony attended by Anne Manipoud-Charcot, the explorer’s great-grand-daughter, Hervé Gastinel, PONANT’s CEO and Captains Etienne Garcia and Patrick Marchesseau.

The boldness of this project is not just about taking passengers to the far corners of the Arctic and the Antarctic, it is about doing it safely and following the same values and principles of seamanship that move us. Our values are first about respect for nature – this nature that is so dear to us, all the more knowing how much we owe the oceans and the fragile eco-systems we travel. Polar regions in particular deserve the highest respect and attention. We are committed to this mission every day and today ever more.

Hervé Gastinel, PONANT's CEO

After a musical prelude from violinist Namanja Radulovic and pianist Laure Favre-Kahn, bagpipes, and other traditional Breton instruments of le Bagad de Lann-Bihoue resonated under the Normand sky off the Etretat cliffs. The Chef Alain Ducasse, the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the director Luc Jacquet, the designer Jean-Philippe Nuel were among the guests alongside other partners of the company including Vard shipyard, Stirling Design International and Aker Arctic. Also among the guests were Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, French Ambassador for the Poles and Jérôme Chappellaz, Director of the Paul Emile Victor Institute.

Le Commandant Charcot was designed with the highest attention in mind in terms of safety, comfort and respect for the environment in order to sail and explore the extreme and far-reached territories of the Arctic and the Antarctic, in complete self-sufficiency. It is also fitted with facilities and equipment for research, providing the scientific world with a platform for observation, research and analysis to study the polar eco-systems.