Noise Pollution

Today all vessels sailing across the oceans are subject to strict environmental, safety and security rules and regulations. There are many parties involved currently setting the framework for future rules & regulations regarding noise emissions by merchant vessels.

Continuous noise onboard ships can have an adverse impact on human health and marine life. Thus the IMO adopted, in 2012, a regulation in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to require ships to be constructed to reduce on-board noise and to protect onboard staff, inhabitants within the vicinity of ports and marine life from noise, in accordance with the Code on noise levels on board ships. The Code sets out mandatory maximum noise level limits for machinery spaces, control rooms, workshops, accommodation and other spaces on board ships. The International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) also has requirements with respect to preventing the risk of exposure to hazardous levels of noise on board ships.

In June 2018 government representatives and industry experts conveyed at the UN headquarters to discuss the issue of anthropogenic noise emissions. Over the past decade noise generation activities by humans have increased to the extent that it takes severe effect on many marine species. All attendees spoke in favour about including a reference to the guidelines during the next General Assembly Resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The recognition of anthropogenic noise as a form of pollution was meet with general approval. All participating parties will ensure that this issue will receive the international recognition it requires to be adequately addressed.

The concerning regulatory IMO framework was discussed again during the UN Oceans Conference in September 2018. The conference undertook the first step towards developing a legally binding resolution framework on the conservation and sustainability of marine biological diversity. IMO regulations are enforced by flag states, national coast guards and port state authorities and many IMO measures contribute to the conservation of marine life (Marpol, BWM etc.) . IMO has issued guidance on protecting marine life from underwater noise. Developing a new legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is expected to be concluded by 2020.

Noise pollution emissions will become for shipowners and operators another field which will need to be addressed and solved in an economically efficient way while complying to future rules and regulations.

We will help you to analyse sources of noice pollutions and develop a full vessel noise reduction plan.