Luxury yachts fly the green flag
Luxury yachts that whisk their millionaire owners or charter guests to the world's top beauty spots, guzzling gallons of fuel on the way, have long scraped the bottom of the green league tables.
But as superyachts converged on the Riviera for this year's 20th Monaco Yacht Show, a small but determined minority were flying the green flag as the ever expanding fleet of mega yachts seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.
Paolo Moretti, who heads the yachting division of Italy's ship certification body RINA, told AFP interest in environmental topics has spiked in the yachting sector over the last five years.
"Luxury yachts have big budgets but owners now not only want to excel in terms of comfort and luxury but also in environmental sustainability," he said.
The influential four-day show that opened Wednesday in the tiny, glitzy principality attracted an exceptional turnout of some 100 superyachts of up to 90 metres (300 feet) in length.
Among the 28,000-plus participants crammed into Monaco's horseshoe-shaped port, there were some 500 firms involved in the design, paint, engines and waste disposal for the superyachts.
And many of them are working on how to make yachting more sustainable. "Motivation is coming from all sides and some owners are really deeply concerned by environmental issues, particularly the more technically-minded owners," said Luc Khaldoun, commercial director Europe at Fraser Yachts Monaco.
One newly-launched sea-giant -- Exuma -- had its green ambitions on full display.
The first of a new series of Vitruvius motor yachts built by Italy's Pichiotti and Perini Navi, Exuma was designed by Philippe Briand, famous for his cutting-edge sailing yachts.
The spectacular 50-metre vessel, which can accommodate 10 guests and eight crew, boasts an unusual aluminium hull, whose lighter weight is designed to slash fuel consumption, explained the boat's captain, Adolfo Oria.
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