Seas At Risk and other civil society organisations today welcomed the updating of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) voluntary guidelines on the impact of underwater noise from ships on marine wildlife, but warned that further delay in the development of mandatory measures will leave ocean wildlife exposed to growing harmful underwater noise pollution.
While revision of the 2014 underwater noise guidelines to reduce the impact of underwater noise from ships was finalised this week during the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction in London (SDC 9), the IMO failed to discuss next steps, which should have included a path forward to the development of compulsory measures to reduce underwater noise. The revised guidelines are expected to be approved by the Marine Environment Protection Committee in July (MEPC 80) and should be applied immediately.
“While the revision of the 2014 underwater noise guidelines is a step in the right direction, we are disappointed that the IMO failed to discuss a program of action or to identify the next steps that must be taken”, said Dr Sian Prior, Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor. “The voluntary nature of the guidelines is known to be the main reason for industry inaction on this important issue, and the IMO must now prioritise the development of action including binding measures designed to rapidly reduce underwater noise pollution, globally and especially in the Arctic.”
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Posted on: 27 January 2023