When superyachts adapt to save the oceans

Press release: Monaco’s governement

By welcoming IPCC experts to the country for the release of the Climate and Ocean report at the same time as the Monaco Yacht Show, the Principality has undoubtedly mastered the art of the bold contrast. Informed observers will be more likely to remember the result of an active and incentivising Monegasque policy which highlights the increasing awareness of those in the yachting and cruise sector, with more and more of them getting involved and taking action to safeguard the environment. Which just goes to show that the Principality, holding firm to its economic and social model that has, at the behest of its Sovereign, incorporated environmental issues for the last 15 years, knows how to make a constructive contribution to the debate, with arguments to support its position. These arguments should be up to the job of calming a climate that might otherwise have turned stormy…

Monaco Yacht Show is deeply involved in the trend towards sustainable development…

Sustainability has become a hot topic in the yachting world, with many superyachts developing innovative solutions to help reduce their environmental footprint. Savannah, an 84m Feadship, was billed as the first hybrid superyacht with a single engine, three generators and a combined total of approximately one megawatt-worth of batteries. Black Pearl, the 107m sailing yacht from Oceanco, meanwhile, uses special shaft generators which create free electricity by allowing the propellers to turn when the yacht is under sail. Fuel cells are also gaining momentum, with Italian shipyard VSY developing a concept powered by hydrogen fuel technology, together with renowned designer Espen Oeino, Siemens and Lloyds Register.

The industry-at-large is following suit. Many superyacht builders provide financial support to Blue Marine Foundation, an NGO on a mission to put 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030. Their famous London to Monaco cycle ride, a 1100km trans-European marathon effort, has raised over one million pounds since 2016, with industry professionals coming together to raise money for ocean conservation.

There are far more initiatives besides. Many superyacht crew have united under the Clear Ocean Pact, a shared commitment to reducing single-use plastics on board yachts. Brokerage firms, meanwhile, are partnering with conservationists in an effort to help combat ocean pollution. At marinas and yacht clubs, floating rubbish bins are being installed to help clear plastic debris.

Leaders from the industry have also banded together to establish Water Revolution Foundation, a nonprofit on a mission to drive sustainability even further within the industry through collaboration and innovation. First up on this newly-founded non-profit’s agenda is to develop a database of sustainable solutions for the industry, to encourage a culture of ‘open-source sustainability’ where collaboration is prioritised over competition. They’ve also promised a revolutionary software tool that can measure the environmental impact of various yacht design concepts.

Superyachts have a very different operational profile to other marine vessels, averaging only around 300 hours per year. They rarely sail at maximum speed, cruising at only 20% of their capacity on average. Statistics show that less than 0.3% of the world’s marine vessel CO2 emissions come from the thousands of superyachts afloat today. Nevertheless, the superyacht industry continues to minimise its impact on the environment and the world’s oceans – after all, it is these very oceans that inspire people to go sailing in the first place.

… and social responsibility

Superyacht owners are increasingly concerned about the environmental health of the oceans. Many regularly collect data for environmental organisations. To help facilitate this, the International Seakeepers Society connects owners with scientists, allowing them to use yachts as platforms for marine research. Archimedes is one of the many participating yachts, recently being used for a shark research expedition near Antigua.

Then there’s REV. Nearing completion, the 183m yacht will be the largest in the world, with ambitions to match its colossal size. The Norwegian owner, Kjell Inge Røkke, will use REV to carry out scientific research all over the world, uncovering new truths about our oceans and helping to preserve them in the process. In research mode, REV will be able to carry 60 scientists and 30 crew members, allowing for ground-breaking research on climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution.

Alongside ocean research, owners and crew often participate in disaster relief, providing humanitarian aid to those in need. As incongruous as it might seem to see a yacht anchored up in such an environment, the size, capacity, speed and range of these vessels can make them ideal first responders. YachtAid Global, a non-profit organisation set up in 2006, works with yachts to help deliver and coordinate disaster relief and development aid to coastal communities worldwide.

The Bertarelli Foundation, meanwhile, provides significant funding for marine reserves. The foundation was set up by Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, who own Vava II. To date, the foundation has supported the creation of more than 2,000,000 km2 of marine protected areas.

With the Sustainable Yachting Network, the Prince Albert II Foundation is encouraging change in the sector

The Prince Albert II Foundation has launched a new initiative aimed at boosting its efforts to promote sustainable yachting. This is an initiative that the Foundation embarked upon nearly 13 years ago with the Wood Forever Pact, which has now been strengthened by the establishment of the Sustainable Yachting Network (SYN) alongside its partners, the Yacht Club de Monaco, the Monaco Yacht Show, the Monaco Yachting Cluster and the Ramoge Secretariat.

The SYN has set itself the objective of supporting and developing a network of committed stakeholders in the yachting industry – shipyards, designers, captains/crews, owners, equipment and raw material suppliers, service providers, federations, regulatory bodies, the media and teachers – to support the emergence of sustainable solutions and thereby contribute to positioning yachting as a leading sector in a modern, environmentally friendly economy.

Three areas of action have been identified, focusing on:

  • The organisation of conferences and events to promote the emergence and implementation of innovative solutions that are adapted to the sector’s needs;
  • The creation of information tools to improve knowledge of sustainable technologies and solutions, as well as regulations, to help the yachting sector reduce its impact on ecosystems;
  • Finally, support for projects and programmes that help to develop innovative, sustainable solutions in partnership with the yachting sector and safeguard the environment.

Within the framework of the SYN, the Prince Albert II Foundation workds on the Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Yachting to address all major areas of environmental responsibility in yachting: propulsion, eco-design, construction and raw materials, maintenance, navigation, renewable energy, waste and water management, and water sports.

Monitoring pollution from cruise ships

The Principality of Monaco regulates cruise ship pollution through Article O.225-6 of the Code of the Sea, which governs the use of fuels by ships entering Monegasque waters. Monaco is currently more restrictive than its neighbours with regard to ship emissions, imposing since 20 July 2018 the use of fuel with a sulphur content no higher than 0.1% for all ships, whether at the quayside or docked anywhere in the country’s territorial waters (Art. O.225-6 of the Code of the Sea). All ships are required to use a refined fuel or to have the ability to treat fumes. In the latter case, purifiers scrub the gases with water at an extremely high temperature to capture toxic substances such as sulphur. Elsewhere in Europe, with the exception of Northern Europe, this restriction only applies to ports, not to territorial waters.

To ensure that everyone complies with this rule, random monitoring is carried out by officials from the Department of Maritime Affairs and the Department of the Environment to check ships’ logs and take samples of fuel for analysis. In the event of a breach, the sanctions for failing to comply with this regulation are six months to one year in prison and fines ranging from EUR 18,000 to EUR 90,000 (Code of the Sea).

The impact of ship pollution on air quality in the Principality has also been monitored for a number of years. To this end, one of the five stations in the air quality monitoring network is located on Quai Antoine I. Atmospheric pollutant concentrations measured by this station, including sulphur dioxide, are below regulatory thresholds and WHO-recommended levels.

Measurements taken for this purpose by sensors installed around port areas have not highlighted any increase in pollutant levels. Finally, with regard to pleasure craft of all sizes, the Société d’Exploitation des Ports de Monaco (SEPM) and the Société Monégasque d’Electricité et de Gaz (SMEG) have embarked on work which should, by 2021, allow all such vessels to connect directly to the electricity supply when at the quayside, without the need to use generators during their stay.

The Yacht Club of Monaco’s main activities to help protect the environment

  • A building constructed with HEQ in mind
    Designed by the prestigious architect Lord Norman Foster, the setting for the Yacht Club of Monaco, inaugurated in June 2014, has the appearance of a large yacht. Firmly anchored on the Quai Louis II, its was designed with HEQ in mind, using wood from FSC-certified sources, photovoltaic cells, low-energy LED lighting, and energy and waste management systems, such as the hydro-cooling system that uses water from the port to cool the building via the heat pumps used for air conditioning. Sustainability was taken into account throughout the building’s life cycle; this commitment has been recognised with ISO 14001 certification. More than 60% of the hot water for the sailing school is produced by solar panels installed on the roof of the building. All of the Y.C.M.’s renewable electricity is certified by the SMEG’s “Egeo” label.
  • The YCM’s Marina
    Like other ports in Monaco, the Y.C.M.’s Marina has its “Clean Harbour” certification. All the moorings are equipped with the appropriate electrical power supply and are connected to the sewer system, for discharging black and grey water. In collaboration with Vita superPower™, the YCM’s Marina was the first to be equipped with rapid charging stations for electric boats.
  • Three electric boats for the sports section and the Marina
    In the spring of 2018, the Yacht Club of Monaco acquired three electric tenders, to be used for the students in its Sports Section and in the organisation of the many nautical events, as well as for its Marina and for boats on stopovers in the port. In the future, the Club wishes to own clean energy craft only.
  • A zero-emission committee boat for the YCM
    The Yacht Club of Monaco took the opportunity of the 2019 Solar & Energy Boat Challenge to announce the launch of the construction of the future Zero Emission Committee boat, designed to be used at its regattas and other nautical events. Naval architect Espen Oeino designed the hull and the structure, while Dario Calzavara (Terra Modena) was responsible for engineering this totally ecological catamaran, which emits no carbon or noise pollution. The boat, which creates minimal disturbance, will therefore be used for whale watching off the coast of the Principality. The construction is in aluminium (which can easily be recycled). The boat will be powered by a combination of different methods; it was initially designed to run on solar energy, but could also run on hydrogen and use vertical sails to increase its autonomy, as well as new means of propulsion, with the aim of making it as quiet as possible.
  • A regatta buoy with dynamic positioning
    Since last spring, the Yacht Club of Monaco has been developing a dynamically positioned regatta buoy, the aim of which is to contribute to the smooth running of regattas. This robotic buoy moves via a motorised system; its position and movement are controlled remotely. One of the many advantages of this buoy is that it makes it easier to respect the environment, as it is not moored on the seabed. It is planned to present the buoy officially at the first America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) in Cagliari, Sardinia, from 23 to 26 April 2020.
  • 7th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge (1- 4 July 2020)
    The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge has been organised by the Yacht Club of Monaco since 2014, in association with the International Motor Yachting Union (UIM) and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. This competition is unique in the world and showcases the latest innovations in propulsion. The aims are to give free rein to the creativity of young engineers, combined with the experience of industrialists, to imagine the Yachting of tomorrow, using only clean energy sources, and to encourage open-source exchanges between students and professionals by offering employment opportunities throughout the year. Note that throughout the 6th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge last July, which attracted 34 teams (from 14 different nationalities), the Y.C.M. had a zero-emission policy for all the organisation’s boats and for transporting its guests, compensating for their travel by offsetting 109 tonnes of CO2 for the benefit of the Ocean Foundation, which will plant Posidonia meadows.
  • Encouraging expeditions from Monaco to observe and report on the state of our planet
    Mike Horn’s Pole2pole expedition is an unprecedented round-the-world trip, travelling through both poles (in the South/North direction). Mike set off from the Yacht Club of Monaco on this new adventure in May 2016. In November 2016, he left Cape Town by boat for Antarctica, where he became the first person to cross the continent via the South Pole in record time. After taking time out to climb the formidable K2 this summer, he now aims to reach the northern Arctic, where he plans to cross the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole before arriving back in Monaco in mid-December 2019.
  • Young Explorer Club
    A partnership has been created between Martin and Mike Horn and the Yacht Club of Monaco to organise educational camps in Switzerland and the Alpes Maritimes for young Monegasques. The aim is to reconnect the younger generation with Nature through outdoor sports and teach them the basics of survival in the wild (such as orienteering, map reading, studying fauna and flora, etc.)
  • SeAdventures Camp
    During the school holidays, the Sports Section of the Yacht Club of Monaco organises introductory and advanced courses in sailing and the awareness and knowledge of the marine environment.
  • Presentation of the Explorer Awards
    As part of Monaco Ocean Week, the Y.C.M. holds an environmental symposium, La Belle Classe Superyachts, a day of lectures and debates on major trends in protecting the marine environment. At this event, the Yacht Club of Monaco launched the first Y.C.M. La Belle Classe Explorer Awards in 2019, the aim of which is to recognise the most exemplary owners of “explorer” yachts. All initiatives are welcomed, whether in construction, management of life on board or the routes taken and data collected.
  • Malizia II – The Yacht Club of Monaco and its “Malizia Ocean Challenge”
    After 14 days of sailing, the racing yacht Malizia II, skippered by the Vice-President of the Yacht Club of Monaco, Pierre Casiraghi, the crew’s founder, and sailor Boris Herrmann, arrived in New York Bay in late August, with Greta Thunberg on board. The young Swedish girl, who symbolises the fight against global warming, was making her first Atlantic crossing. She will take part in the United Nations World Climate Summit, organised by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in New York on 23 September. This IMOCA 60′ category yacht is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1.3 kW solar system and two hydrogenerators, which are permanently installed on the stern of the boat, and were specially designed for this class of boat. With these two independent systems, the boat produces more electricity than it actually needs on board. The two energy sources allow all the on-board systems and electronics to operate continuously – navigation instruments, autopilots, a desalinator and the SubCtech ocean laboratory. In parallel with its sporting challenge, with a view to participating in the 2020 Vendée Globe, the crew of the Malizia is working on three main areas – sailing, science and education – through its Malizia Ocean Challenge programme. On all their voyages and during sailing races, the crew measures the CO2 content of the ocean and other data relating to the sea’s surface via their on-board laboratory. The data collected and the results are made available to the public and to scientists. A large-scale educational programme has been developed for young schoolchildren who follow the progress of the boat, in both Germany and the Principality, to raise their awareness of the importance of protecting the environment and the oceans and the impact of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere and the oceans throughout the world. The crew of the Malizia recycle the boat’s used sails, avoid using plastic products, are carrying out a paperless campaign, and have joined the UN “Sports for Climate Action” initiative.

Photos : MC Clic / Monaco Yacht Show / Team Malizia – Monaco Yacht Club