La Ciotat Shipyards have announced a collaboration with WeOcean - an initiative founded by the oceanographer Leslie Bissey and her crew to develop projects aimed at educating and raising public awareness to preserve marine biodiversity. The department of Bouches-du-Rhône has attributed an annual berth in the old port to the association, so SuperyachtNews spoke exclusively to Jean-Yves Saussol, CEO at La Ciotat Shipyards, for further insights.

According to Saussol, the recent collaboration started very simply. “The association wanted to move to La Ciotat because of the rich biodiversity of the area, at the doorstep of the Calanques’ National Park and the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, so they contacted us to ask if they could install their home base in the old harbour,” began Saussol.

“It is a unique opportunity to engage with dynamic experts in oceanology" - Jean-Yves Saussol, CEO - La Ciotat Shipyards

Not only did La Ciotat accept their request, but they also jumped at the chance to add to their own environmental agenda. “It is a unique opportunity to engage with dynamic experts in oceanology,” Saussol added.

There are further sustainable initiatives underway at La Ciotat, as earlier this year they recruited a full-time engineer to work on such initiatives. “[The engineer] is currently working on the supervision of all the environmental safeguards deployed in the framework of our ATLAS-4300t project (bubble curtains, eco-conception of new quays, noise measurements, air quality measurements etc.), but also on a comprehensive audit of our environmental footprint and on solutions to boost self-generation of renewable energy on our site using solar panels,” explained Saussol.

Through the collaboration with WeOcean, La Ciotat are also specifically working on the possibility to give second life to an old floating gate by transforming it into an artificial reef. “I hope this will be done in the upcoming months,” said Saussol.

When asked what the key changes and initiatives are that Saussol wants shipyards to be making to become more sustainable within the next 5 - 10 years, the first change he identified was very straightforward. “First of all, I think that we have no choice but to reduce the use of plastics in our everyday operations. Our oceans cannot continue to be the ultimate rubbish bin of our planet. 

“This is, of course, easier said than done, especially when you have to change the way your employees are used to working. For example, simply banning the use of plastic bottles requires a lot of persuasion. Another thing is to attract more businesses with a clear and realistic environmental agenda to our yard. Technical innovation is key for reducing the footprint of superyachts and we want to help companies who bring innovative solutions for that,” concluded Saussol, expressing that he would be delighted to have a company developing a fuel cell or hydrogen-based solution for superyachts at La Ciotat.

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