All purpose vessels
Recently there has been a push towards sustainable solutions in the yachting industry. Micca Ferrero, Owner of ICON Yachts has taken this issue to heart and the company now leads the way with its Conversion Explorer Yachts. These yachts are not just stunning examples of modern engineering, but also highlight the greater purpose of their actions
ICON Yachts has a long history in shipbuilding, with a reputation for delivering some of the world’s most impressive superyachts. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Harlingen, ICON Yachts has developed its expertise in yacht conversion and refit projects, establishing a leading position in the sector of Explorer yachts and purpose vessels.
However, in recent years, the company has pivoted towards more sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. The results are vessels that combine luxury with environmental consciousness. The conversion specialist shipyard defines its explorer yachts as purpose-vessels because they are designed and built with a specific set of goals in mind. These goals include exploration, sustainability, and science support, which are all crucial components of what defines a purpose-vessel.
THE BASICS OF CONVERSIONS
In general, conversions refer to ‘the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another’. Due to the dynamic nature of the process, the Dutch company ICON Yachts is always keen to embrace change. The conversion explorer yachts are built using existing vessels that have already had a proven life at sea. These vessels are then repurposed, rather than scrapped, to create something entirely new. This process significantly reduces waste and the environmental impact.
THE PERKS OF CONVERSIONS
When it comes to deciding whether to embark on a new-build or a conversion project, many aspects are assessed and taken into account. From the perspective of conversions, there are undoubtedly some relevant points that evolve:
From an emotional standpoint, a conversion allows the client to see and ‘touch’ something tangible from the very beginning. Hence, the whole project begins with the meticulous choice of the platform vessel, which is supported by a long and thorough feasibility study. By being able to concretely see the transformation of the platform vessel, a client can feel more involved in the whole process.
Thus, starting from an already existing platform vessel ICON is able to save time in the engineering phase. Moreover, by cleverly re-using existing systems, the typical long-lead times for plant and machinery items no longer influence the build period.
However, optimising time is not the most important element at ICON Yachts. Indeed, converting a vessel also has less impact on the environment. As an example, by retaining the existing vessel’s hull and machinery on one of ICON´s conversions, the project has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint by 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases. At the same time, it is possible to save up to 80% of the existing structure, while the major obsolete can be sold back into the market for recycling.
The shipbuilding itself reflects the company’s ethos. Since 2021, the ICON facility only uses 100% green energy, and can also pride itself to be the first Dutch shipyard to achieve the ISO 14001 certification. The latter, awarded by Lloyd’s Register to the shipyard, is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system.
PROJECT MASTER AND HER ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
The Dutch shipbuilder is currently working on Project MASTER, an explorer yacht reborn out of a history-laden offshore rescue and standby vessel. Through an in-depth feasibility study, the platform vessel OCEAN NESS was carefully evaluated to be a suitable basis for this extraordinary transformation process. Her impressive appearance when finished will hold more than enough reserves to accommodate the owner’s extensive wish list.
MASTER will be upgraded with the latest electrically powered Voith- Schneider Propellers (eVSP). This unique all-electric environmentally friendly propulsion system is provided with incredible features, which include increased overall efficiency and comfort, dynamic positioning, higher stabilisation with reduced noise levels.
Furthermore, this future-proof system is already in compliance with the upcoming IMO Tier IV regulations and significantly reduces emissions. Five highly efficient generators will generate electricity, with fuel capacity enabling the vessel to travel vast distances of up to +9000nm at a comfortable 10kn cruising speed.
SUPPORTING THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Together with implementing technological innovation to its latest projects, ICON is also striving to promote scientific research onboard its converted vessels. Given the success of its 77m converted explorer yachts LEGEND or RAGNAR in terms of scientific abilities, ICON Yachts is committed to designing yachts suitable for scientific purposes when guests are not aboard.
Conversion vessel platforms often feature existing equipment ready to participate in research programmes. Hence, with relatively simple and low investment taken early on in the design process, it is possible to integrate research facilities. This is why ICON is solidifying its network of partners like The International SeaKeepers Society, which promotes oceanographic research, conservation, and education through direct involvement with the yachting community. This enables the yachting community to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and raise awareness about global ocean issues which affect all those in this industry.
EXPLORATION IS THE NEW LUXURY
Another development that ICON is currently embracing is the growing demand for experiential travel. “Clients are no longer satisfied with a simple cruise; they want to explore remote and exotic locations, which require specialised equipment and technologies.” Hence, ICON is adapting by offering fully customised conversions and explorer yachts that cater to these specific needs. At the same time, by listening to the other side of the spectrum (i.e. explorers and voyagers), it is possible to constantly innovate. This is why ICON has recently partnered with the world leading luxury adventure travel company, Cookson Adventures. The latter has already worked with two of ICON’s world renowned vessels, Legend and Sherakhan. Through their close collaboration, the two companies aim at anticipating future explorers’ needs in terms of design and travel experiences.
Recognising the need for change means being open to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives. It means stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging established business practices to develop something different.
“To embrace change, we must allow ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow, to be a strong partner in this constantly evolving industry.”