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The University of Southampton

New shipping study highlights benefits of reducing underwater radiated noise

Published: 15 November 2023
Ship sailing the ocean
Underwater radiated noise is the unintentional noise generated by vessels

A new study by the University of Southampton has been launched to assess the relationship between measures aimed at enhancing ship energy efficiency and underwater radiated noise emissions.

The report was commissioned by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) to highlight the synergy between the two as ships move through the water.

Underwater radiated noise is the unintentional noise generated by vessels. Studies have found that underwater radiated noise emissions, known as URN, generated by shipping can impede marine life, particularly marine mammals, both in the short and long-term.

The maritime industry is moving forward with reducing greenhouse gas to meet net zero emissions by or around 2050.

The new study reviews the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) initiatives and strategies for decarbonising the shipping industry and identifies the measures and tools available that can contribute to expediting the transition.

Professor of Maritime Fluid Dynamics Stephen Turnock is part of the University of Southampton’s Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) , which provides world leading knowledge on all aspects of the maritime sector from ship safety and efficiency, renewable energy, sailing yacht performance to environmental science, maritime law and decarbonising technologies.

He said: “The ICS commissioned report shows that shipping has an opportunity to embrace energy efficiency technologies that will both help ensure it meets its essential greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as well as reducing underwater radiated noise.

“Overall, the report should help in choices being made for future ship design and operation that reduce the overall environmental impact of shipping.”

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and more than 80 per cent of the world merchant fleet.

The ICS-commissioned study highlights the opportunity to reverse the upward trends in URN by leveraging these synergies.

Chris Waddington, Technical Director of the International Chamber of Shipping, said ICS welcomes the report and added: “It recognises that most energy efficiency measures will also reduce URN, and therefore presents a win-win situation for shipowners.”

Read the report at .

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