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Le Commandant Charcot inaugurated in Le Havre

Le Commandant Charcot's inauguration was attended by many notables, from the great-granddaughter of explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot to celebrity chef Alain Ducasse and Oscar-winning director Luc Jacquet
Ponant inaugurated Le Commandant Charcot at a ceremony in Le Havre, France, where the ship's namesake, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, had set off for Antarctica.

The 13th ship in Ponant's fleet was inaugurated Tuesday at festivities attended by Anne Manipoud-Charcot, the explorer’s great-granddaughter; Ponant CEO Hervé Gastinel and captains Etienne Garcia and Patrick Marchesseau, who were in command when Le Commandant Charcot reached the North Pole earlier this month.

Bold project

'The boldness of this project is not just about taking passengers to the far corners of the Arctic and Antarctica, it is about doing it safely and following the same values of seamanship that move us,' Gastinel said.

'Our principles are first about respect for nature — knowing how much we owe the oceans and the fragile ecosystems we travel. Polar regions in particular deserve the highest respect and attention,' he continued. 'We are committed to this mission every day.'

Notables in attendance

A musical prelude by violinist Namanja Radulovic and pianist Laure Favre-Kahn resonated under the Normandy sky off the Etretat cliffs. Ponant culinary partner/celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Oscar-winning director Luc Jacquet ('March of the Penguins') and interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel were among the guests, along with other Ponant partners from the shipbuilder, Vard, Stirling Design International and Aker Arctic.

Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, French ambassador for the poles, and Jérôme Chappellaz, director of the Paul Emile Victor Institute, also attended.