Our ships use ballast water tanks to help maintain an optimal position in the water at all times - regardless of our fuel levels, the number of guests on board or how many provisions we are carrying. These tanks can be used to take on and get rid of seawater to adjust the weight as necessary. Naturally, the water brought on board will contain smaller organisms such as algae and jellyfish. These would normally travel in the tanks for many nautical miles and then be released in another location the next time the ballast water is exchanged. This runs the risk of introducing them to foreign ecosystems where they could disturb the sensitive balance of flora and fauna. To reliably prevent this from happening, all our ships have a ballast water treatment system, which plays an important role in protecting ecologically sensitive regions. Binding legal standards are expected to be introduced in 2021 - requirements that we are already meeting voluntarily and on principle.
We plan shore excursions to ensure the protection of local flora and fauna. At the same time, our scientists on board educate guests to adopt a responsible approach to nature. Rules have been established for shore excursions in the polar regions. The German Federal Environment Agency has issued two sets of guidelines for cruises to the Antarctic on particular aspects to be noted; these include avoiding unnecessary noise, maintaining a minimum distance from animals and heeding conservation areas.
Whenever we visit Spitsbergen, we get involved in the "Clean Up Svalbard" initiative, joining our guests to collect the rubbish - mainly plastic - that washes up on the coast of Spitsbergen. This allows us to make a direct, personal contribution to preserving the region's unique nature