• yersin boat

    (Photo: Monaco Explorations/Olivier Borde)

With plumes of soot billowing from exhaust pipes and a torrent of brown wastewater left in their wake, ships haven't always had the greatest reputations regarding the health of the world’s oceans. But not the Yersin. The Monaco Explorations yacht takes environmental friendliness to new heights.

In July, the ship departed on a three-year journey around the globe to conduct marine research while raising awareness for oceanic plights. For this round-the-world journey, the 76-meter vessel is outfitted with six research laboratories and the latest in technological equipment.

The Monaco Explorations expedition was initiated by Prince Albert II of Monaco who carries on a strong family legacy of oceanography, and from its inception, Francois Fiat, the ship’s owner, required the vessel to be an environmental champion.

Jean Dumarais, the captain of the Yersin, says that the ship reduces its environmental impact in as many ways possible. Not only is the ship on a global mission to “reconnect humanity with the sea,” the vessel itself integrates the most innovative of eco-friendly technology. The ship’s motto is “Leave an imprint without leaving a trace.”

Here’s some of the features that make the Yersin the greenest ship in the sea:

  • Hull treated with a silicone, anti-fouling coating that won’t release harmful chemicals. Ships in the past were treated with coating that contained chemicals such as tributyltin (TBT), a toxic biocide that would leech into the water.
  • Remarkable fuel efficiency – at a cruising speed of 11 knots, electric propulsion gives the ship a consumption rate of 360-litres of fuel per hour, half of conventional diesel engines. At nine knots, the consumption drops to 180-litres per hour.
  • Waste-water is recycled through a biological treatment system that is so clean, the water can be used to wash the deck afterwards. Treatment ends with remaining bacteria being eradicated by UV light, and the system is discharge-free for 10 days.
  • Particulate filters on exhaust pipes prevent 99.8% of the soot from entering the atmosphere.
  • Instead of using traditional teak wood on deck—an endangered species traditionally used for ships-- the Yersin uses Bolidt artificial teak, a greener and hardier alternative.
  • A GPS positioning system that ensures the yacht won’t need to drop the anchor on precious coral reef ecosystems.
  • The ballast waters are filled with freshwater instead of seawater to prevent the spread of invasive species across the ocean.
  • The ship gives off micro-vibrations to prevent biofilm growth. Biofilm can attract organisms such as barnacles or bivalves that can tamper the vessel’s hydrodynamics.
  • The waste storage system can last for 50 days for 40 people, enabling garbage to be disposed of responsibly.