Sustainable superyachts: Oceanco, Heesen and Lürssen are sailing towards a greener future

By Michael Verdon 24 October, 2020
Oceanco’s Black Pearl

Industry leaders of the superyacht world are taking a serious approach to tackle sustainability, at a time when climate change is posing a threat to our oceans

The superyacht world has been engaging in some deep soul-searching these days, with some of the world’s leading gigayacht builders holding livestream events for both brand aficionados and the rest of the yachting world.

Oceanco: NXT

Dutch custom builder Oceanco held a livestream event on 20 October called NXT (see above), which took a serious look at the future of superyachts, especially with regard to sustainability.

Oceanco’s group marketing manager
Paris Baloumis, Oceanco’s group marketing manager

“We want to make a commitment around sustainable yachting for the future,” said Paris Baloumis, Oceanco’s group marketing manager. “We very much believe in it, and as an industry, we need to focus on it, so a yacht is not seen as a liability.

Instead of the usual talking heads from the superyacht sector, the panel included a cross-section of experts from other industries, including Giles Taylor, vice president of design at the FAW Group; Sanne Schenk and Tommy Kleerekoper, partners at Tank, an interior design and architectural agency; James Roy of Lateral; Peter Economides of brand strategist Felix BNI; Chris Gartner, captain of the superyacht Black Pearl; and Marcel Onkenhout, CEO of Oceanco.

“This cross-industry collaboration is to attract free thinkers who can work with us on the push for a more sustainable future,” says Baloumis. Taylor was instrumental in revising the Rolls-Royce brand, while Roy has worked with Oceanco to foster a zero-carbon future for the custom yacht builder. Gartner, as captain of one of the most sustainable yachts ever built, provided insights on next-generation carbon-reducing technologies as a template for future builds.

Baloumis says the panel was more than just a one-off discussion. The panelists will meet consistently to talk about how Oceanco – and the yachting industry – can rework facilities and new yacht plans to foster carbon-neutral production and designs. Oceanco has already invested significant amounts into its facilities in the Netherlands to lower its carbon footprint.

Heesen: YachtTalk

Heesen, another yacht builder, has had two livestream events called YachtTalk, where a panel also discussed issues impacting the superyacht world. In the latest episode, Dutch Design Renaissance, the panel included Frank Laupman, founder of yacht design studio Omega Architects; Gabriele Chiave, creative director at the Marcel Wanders Studio; and Niels van Roij, founder of multi-disciplinary design studio Niels van Roij Design. The panel took an interdisciplinary approach, with Laupman speaking about yacht design, van Roij about car design and Chiave about interior design. Heesen says it will continue to hold the series going forward.

Lürssen: Lürssen Live

Lürssen Live is the third livestream series from a superyacht builder, this time from Lürssen, the German brand that builds the world’s largest yachts. CEO Peter Lürssen was interviewed about the company’s new approach to building smaller yachts in the 49-metre range and current trends he sees taking place across the superyacht world. The builder’s next episode will surround “future propulsion technologies.”

Oceanco’s NXT promises to be a more free-floating discussion than the other two events, touching on issues that go beyond superyacht design. Baloumis said tomorrow’s panel will not promote any new Oceanco superyachts and instead will focus on larger issues at hand. “We want to go deeper and look in a new and different way at our sector,” he says. “If we keep looking at the same old industry parameters, nothing will change. But we are determined to help drive that change. The future is now.”

This story first appeared on Robb Report US