As a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 8) opens today, the Clean Arctic Alliance is calling on IMO members to take action to reduce underwater ship noise and the harm that it is doing to the health of marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins and fish.

“The International Maritime Organisation must act urgently to protect marine life from underwater noise” said Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance. “The IMO’s voluntary underwater noise guidelines have been in place since 2014, but have failed to reduce underwater noise and now require immediate urgent attention. This should include ship industry-wide measures such as reduced sailing speeds and the use of new propellers that are known to reduce underwater noise.”

Arctic underwater noise has significantly increased over the past few years and shipping traffic is increasing in the Arctic. Underwater noise from ships also has a much higher impact than in other parts of the global ocean, as underwater noise travels further and closer to the surface because of lower ocean temperatures.

The meeting will consider proposals for how the IMO tackles underwater noise. The work is intended to identify the barriers to uptake and implementation of the original guidelines, as well as the identification of measures that will further prevent and reduce underwater noise from ships.

Article on the Clean Artic Alliance website.