La Ciotat Shipyards (LCS), the public company managing and developing the shipyards of La Ciotat, has confirmed that its new 4,300 tonne platform will have a net positive impact on the surrounding environment. Through a series of considered strategies, the new shiplift - which is due for completion in 2022 - not only marks LCS’ commitment towards sustainability, but also is set to have a number of positive results for the local communities.

 “Having public shareholders and being active in the yachting industry where environmental concerns are on the rise, we have always been committed to delivering a project which could be a model in terms of sustainability,” says Jean-Yves Saussol, CEO of LCS. “We are more than happy to have met this challenge and demonstrated in practice that it is possible to reconcile profitability and the creation of hundreds of jobs for the local community with delivering a positive impact on the environment.”

"Having public shareholders and being active in the yachting industry where environmental concerns are on the rise, we have always been committed to delivering a project which could be a model in terms of sustainability."

- Jean-Yves Saussol, CEO, La Ciotat Shipyards

When we think of sustainability, it often refers to negating the adverse impact that new infrastructure and developments may have on the environment. But in this case, LCS have gone beyond mere negation, ensuring that the new 4,300 tonne platform will actually significantly benefit the surrounding environment, rather than just counteract its impact.

Directly, LCS has ensured that the natural setting and the biodiversity of the Golfe d’Amour and the nearby Calanques’ National Park will see the rehabilitation of the former industrial brownfield sites left behind from the closure of redundant shipyards.

Following the removal of 3,600 cubic metres of polluted sediment from the harbour, which will then be sent to a treatment facility, the platform will be equipped with the latest-generation rainwater collection system, which will put an end to the discharging into the sea of polluted materials. Two of the existing moorings in the bay, that were originally installed for gas tankers are also to be reactivated.

An innovative biomimicry system, that will reproduce the natural habitats of local marine species, will also be equipped by LCS in the quays. The feature, which has already been tested in the Marseilles’ harbour, will cover no less than 600sqm and will reportedly form the largest artificial fish nursery ever to be installed in a harbour.

An innovative biomimicry system, that will reproduce the natural habitats of local marine species, will also be equipped by LCS in the quays. The feature, which has already been tested in the Marseilles’ harbour, will cover no less than 600sqm and will reportedly form the largest artificial fish nursery ever to be installed in a harbour.

The Seaboost biomimicry system  Image: Seaboost

Of course, one would think that with any construction, noise pollution and pollution from truck movements is almost inevitable, but LCS has confirmed that environmental protection will also be given special attention throughout the construction phase. Working in collaboration with Vinci Travaux Maritimes, which will be in charge of all the earthworks, dredging, depollution and civil works for the platform, a large number of solutions will be implemented to ensure that the new working site can be established with minimal impact.

To keep the CO2 emissions and disturbance to the immediate neighbourhood at the lowest possible level, up to 98% of the 80,000 cubic metres of the soil that will be excavated for the project will be reused on the site. Furthermore, the number of truck movements will be reduced to a maximum of three per day during the months that those works take place and anti-dust and noise protection systems will also be installed.

LCS has reported that special attention has been devoted to the protection of the resident wildlife, which are particularly rich in the bay of La Ciotat. State-of-the-art protection procedures that minimise the release of suspended matter from the site into the waters of the bay will be implemented. Furthermore, in order to avoid any disturbance to the dolphins that live in the bay, two double bubble curtains are to be installed in order to suppress the noise caused by the underwater works.

“With all the environmental constraints that we have been able to accommodate, the 4,300t plat- form in La Ciotat will clearly be an outstanding project from an environmental and sustainability perspective.”

- Alexandre Rolland, Project Director of La Ciotat Shipyards

“The full package of environmental measures that will be implemented both during the construction works and the exploitation phase, represents a total investment of almost €5 million and have been designed after long studies in close partnership with public authorities such as the Calanques’ National Park,” says Alexandre Rolland, Project Director of LCS. “With all the environmental constraints that we have been able to accommodate, the 4,300t plat- form in La Ciotat will clearly be an outstanding project from an environmental and sustainability perspective.”

A comprehensive surveillance system to monitor and measure the effectiveness of the environmental protection measures is to be installed during the construction phase. This long-term monitoring programme is to be maintained during the future exploitation phase. Features of the programme will include the recruitment of an environmental expert, regular survey of water turbidity at five different locations both inside and outside of the harbour and also acoustic monitoring using a hydrophone-equipped buoy.

There is no question that these proposed developments are a fantastic example of the incredible work that is being done towards building a more sustainable market place. LCS series of sustainable developments showcases what can be done with infrastructure developments such as this and shows that it is not just about negating adverse impact, but also benefiting the surrounding environment.

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