PONANT Conducts an International Safety Exercise in the Polar Region

PONANT continues to enhance maritime safety standards through innovation. On September 30, 2023, Le Commandant Charcot conducted a second safety drill in the polar region at Herschel Island in the Northwest Passage.

“We carried out a first rescue exercise on the ice in September 2021 during the ship’s trial voyage. This time, the operation took place in ice-free water. It’s a world first that allowed us to test our procedures and equipment, as well as the coordination with the Canadian and American services,” explained the Captain, Patrick Marchesseau, on Le Commandant Charcot. “This joint exercise and sharing of our expertise is contributing to advances in safety for the entire polar maritime and tourism industry.”


  • The exercise was supported by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre based in 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, Canada, and involved the U.S. Coast Guard District Seventeen and Air Station Kodiak, as well as a command unit in the PONANT head office in Marseille, France.
  • Over 12 hours in 10 different time zones, more than 100 individuals were mobilized, including PONANT teams onboard and ashore. 
  • PONANT’s specially designed suits were provided to the 65 participants, including 24 passengers, who were evacuated to an island via a heated lifeboat.
  • An innovative piece of equipment developed by PONANT called the Ice Cube was towed by the lifeboat, and polar shelters were set up, some of which were tested with heating modes. During the first part of the LIVEX, the lifeboat was used as a hospital.
  • The Royal Canadian Airforce used a CC-130H Hercules, a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter, and a CC-138 Twin Otter, while the United States Coast Guard used a C-130J Super Hercules and an MH-60T Jayhawk for the joint exercise.

Julie Bouchner is the Digital Editorial Manager for Porthole Cruise and Travel. She has a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Syracuse University. When she is not writing, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, baking, and playing with her Siberian Husky named Ellie.