Bureau Veritas Awards Ponant Notation for Managing Underwater Noise

Ponant Ship

Bureau Veritas (BV) has announced that it has awarded its class notation NR614 for Underwater Radiated Noise to Ponant’s Le Jacques-Cartier, the last sister-ship in the the brand’s Explorer series of six expedition class cruise ships. BV said that the award of the notation reflects Ponant’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its ships and operations.

BV said that 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 deep waters. Le Jacques-Cartier is one of the few cruise ships in the world to have obtained this certification, rewarding the cutting-edge design in terms of environmental conservation of the Explorer series.

“We are very happy to have obtained this certification recognizing the years of research and development dedicated to the creation of the Ponant Explorer series. It perfectly illustrates our commitment to making environmental protection our priority, right from the design of ships,” commented Mathieu Petiteau, director of newbuilding, research and development at Ponant.

The sound tests were carried out in September, off the coast of Morgat, located in the Gulf of Morbihan in 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 analyzed the sound radiation from Le Jacques-Cartier to assess the vessel's acoustic signature.

The URN notation, valid for 5 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 entire Ponant fleet by BV.

In 2017, the cruise line supported the ECHO program, an initiative taken by the Port of Vancouver. Ponant’s ships deliberately reduced their speed in an important feeding area for whales, to reduce underwater noise in this area. Subsequently, Ponant extended these measures deciding 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 collaborative research project AQUO, which studies the modeling of underwater noise. It highlights the impact of sound radiation linked to maritime transport on wildlife and has notably published recommendations for optimizing the construction of future ships.

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