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Zodiacs cruising through the Antarctic

Preserving Our Planet


Quark Expeditions aims to reduce our carbon emissions per passenger by 10% through fleet improvements and changes in order to reduce our impact. We’re working with our supply chain to measure, report and reduce their emissions, and our office and field operations aim to reuse or recycle 100% of waste on Quark Expeditions-owned vessels.

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World Explorer fleet in the Antarctic
Ship-Related Carbon Footprint

2019 is the first year that Quark Expeditions reported carbon emissions, and we’re excited that an analysis of our historical fuel consumption data shows that we’ve decreased emissions from our vessels by 44% per guest per day from 2010 values, and 13% from our average emissions from the past 5 years. This analysis included our vessels’ daily fuel volume per guest. It does not currently include emissions generated from fly cruises, Zodiac operations, staff transportation, or office-related emissions.

By reporting our carbon emissions per guest, Quark Expeditions is actively committed to transparency regarding reducing our carbon footprint in the polar regions as well as responsibly selling berths aboard our vessels.

World Explorer fleet in the Antarctic
Passenger and Expedition Staff having a conversation
Advancing Our UN Clean Seas Pledge

Quark Expeditions took the Clean Seas pledge, but in fact has been drastically reducing single-use plastics on board for much longer. For the past 5 years, we have been providing each of our guests with a reusable water bottle, cabins have been outfitted with soap and shampoo dispensers, and we provide straws only on request.

UN Environment launched Clean Seas in February 2017 with the aim of engaging governments, members of the general public and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic pollution by targeting the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic.

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Passenger and Expedition Staff having a conversation
Infographic on reducing waste

Reducing Waste with MAGS

World Explorer and Ultramarine will be equipped with a Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) that thermally breaks down waste, reducing waste volume by up to 95%. These units sequester carbon to reduce CO2 emissions, are virtually self-sustaining after a 1.5-hour startup, and not only exceed MARPOL regulations, they’ve initiated a drive towards a change on the regulatory framework.

MAGS has two positive by-products: heat, which we can use for interior spaces, and a soil enhancer called biochar, which improves soil’s water and nutrient retention and pH.

Infographic on reducing waste

Sustainable, Game-Changing Ship Ultramarine

Quark Expeditions is extremely proud of our new expedition vessel, Ultramarine, which features a pioneering mix of advanced sustainability features that will reduce its environmental impact to an extent previously unseen for a polar vessel of comparable size.

  • 4 diesel-electric engines of 2 sizes which can be run in any combination provide very flexible and efficient fuel consumption.
  • A state-of-the-art energy recovery wheel collects energy from the exhaust air, reducing energy demand to maintain a comfortable environment. Secondary energy recovery recovers heat from engine exhausts.
  • Fan Coil Units in each cabin means good temperature control combined with quality thermal insulation and low heat transfer windows reduce energy usage and keep Ultramarine cozy.
  • LED lighting, from navigation lights to cabin and bathroom lighting, can save up to 50%. Lighting controls minimize lighting to only what is required for additional energy savings.
  • Hull drag is reduced by 4% by using the latest in computational fluid dynamics techniques, iterative hull form-modeling, and state-of-the-art production fairing.
  • A propeller and hull interaction analysis lead to reduced losses due to cavitation (bubbles) and frequency-induced vibrations in the hull structure.
  • By minimizing waste brought on board, gasifying combustible waste to generate useful heat with MAGS, and compacting other retained waste, Ultramarine can operate for 40 days and discharge no solid waste!
  • Black and grey water are treated to dischargeable condition anywhere in the world and there is sufficient storage to operate at full capacity with 340 guests and crew for 5 days.
  • Dynamic Positioning allows Ultramarine to hold position with minimal energy use and without dropping the anchor on sensitive seabeds.