Underwater radiated noise (URN) and its impact on the marine environment are not yet covered by IMO regulations, but guidelines on reducing underwater radiated noise from commercial shipping were revised by the IMO sub-committee on Ship Design and Construction. The draft revised guidelines were adopted by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in July 2023 and entered into effect from 1 August 2023. The revised guidelines are intended to assist relevant stakeholders in establishing mechanisms through which noise reduction efforts can be achieved.
One such mechanism is the establishment of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). This is an area that needs special protection due to its recognised ecological or socio-economic or scientific significance, and which may be vulnerable to damage by ships. IMO can designate such an area when it fulfils certain criteria. For example, ship routeing measures can be proposed for adoption in connection with a PSSA to protect marine life from URN.
Also, a targeted management of a ship’s speed can be a mitigating factor for URN as well as a recognised measure to reduce whale strikes.
At present, noise-reduction technologies apply to specialized ship types, such as navy and research ships and are not available on a large-scale nor economically feasible for implementation on commercial ships.
Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.
The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.
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