KR’s guidance for underwater radiated noise to protect marine ecosystems

South Korean classification society Korean Register (KR) has developed new “Guidance for Underwater Radiated Noise” to help protect marine ecosystems by reducing noise from ships.

Underwater ship noise is known to cause disruption to the marine ecosystem and is becoming a more serious issue as ships’ size and speed increase. Therefore, International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is discussing measures to mitigate this growing challenge.

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Thus, the shipping industry is expecting new regulations to determine sensitive areas, where ships calling in that area will be required to meet appropriate standards for underwater noise, KR said.

Now, KR is introducing a class notation for underwater radiation noise to support the industry’s move to design more eco-friendly ships.

As explained, the class notation and the guidance are based on the international standard of quantities and procedures for the description and measurement of underwater sound from ships – ISO 17208. The guidance covers the noise standard for two operating conditions: normal operation (transit) and quiet operation (quiet).

The class notation is given in the form of ‘underwater radiated noise (URN)-T(20)’, which indicates that when a ship operates at a speed equivalent to 20 knots in still water, it meets the transit criteria for underwater radiated noise.

“Several countries and ports have already introduced regulations relating to underwater radiated noise, and some ports, such as the Port of Vancouver, are offering discounts on port user fees for vessels that meet the standards”, a KR official said.

“If our customers’ vessels have obtained KR’s class notation for underwater radiated noise, they will also be able to benefit from these advantages while reducing their impact on the maritime environment.”

The classification society added that it intends to actively support its customers’ compliance with regulations on underwater noise, including technical services which will enable customers to implement low-noise ship technology.

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