La Ciotat Shipyards (LCS) has presented the environmental features of its upcoming 4,300t platform dedicated to megayachts, with Yves Saussol, CEO of LCS, stating: “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. 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.”
Far from having a defensive stance consisting of mitigating the adverse effects of the project on the environment, the 4,300t shiplift will have a net positive impact on the natural setting and the biodiversity of the Golfe d’Amour and the nearby Calanques’ National Park. This will be achieved by the rehabilitation of the former industrial brownfield sites left behind from the closure of redundant shipyards.
Eliminating the discharge of polluted groundwater
As part of the clean-up, 3,600 cubic metres of polluted sediment will be removed from the harbour and sent to a treatment facility. As with the current yacht platforms at La Ciotat, the new 4,300t platform will be equipped with the latest-generation rainwater collection system, which will put an end to the discharging of polluted materials into the sea from the brownfield sites that currently occurs following heavy rain. La Ciotat Shipyards will also reactivate two existing moorings in the bay. These were originally installed for the gas tankers that used to be built locally in order to eliminate any risks from mooring errors from the yard’s clients, which were in any event rare
Moreover, La Ciotat Shipyards will equip the quays of the new platform with an innovative biomimicry system that will reproduce the natural habitats of local marine species, thus fostering their reproduction. This feature, which has already been tested at a smaller scale in the Marseilles’ harbour, will cover no less than 600sqm and so will form the world’s largest artificial fish nursery to be installed in a harbour.
Actions to minimising local noise and pollution from truck movements
In another innovative move, environmental protection will also be given special attention throughout the construction phase. With the collaboration of the company Vinci Travaux Maritimes, which will be in charge of all the earthworks, dredging, depollution and civil works for the platform, a large number of innovative solutions will be implemented to ensure that the new working site can be established with minimal impact on the environmental. In order 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. As a result, the number of truck movements will be reduced to as few as 2-3 per day during the months that those works take place, instead of 25-30 trucks per day that would have been required without those optimisation measures. Anti-dust and noise protection systems will also be installed
Finally, and very importantly, special attention has been devoted to the protection of the resident fauna and flora, 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 therefore be double the usual provision.
To avoid any disturbance to the dolphins that live in the bay, two double bubble curtains will also be installed in order to suppress the noise caused by the underwater works. Visual monitoring of nearby cetaceans will also be undertaken throughout the construction phase to monitor their well-being. As part of the above-mentioned environmental protection measures, La Ciotat Shipyards will also set up a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor and measure their effectiveness. This long-term monitoring programme will be implemented during the construction phase and will 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. According to Alexandre Rolland, Project Director for 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. 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.” La Ciotat Shipyards is now looking forward to the decision of the prefet, who holds the final word on all environmental issues.
Images: La Ciotat Shipyard