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Action plan agreed to reduce underwater noise from ships

The Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) has agreed on an Action Plan to further prevent and reduce underwater radiated noise (URN) from ships. The aim is to minimize the adverse effects of underwater noise on the marine environment, particularly on marine wildlife and indigenous communities.

The Sub-Committee met from 22 to 26 January in London, where it finalised the work on URN, as well as advancing other key action areas.

The Action Plan will be submitted for endorsement by the Marine Environment Protection Committee at its upcoming 81st meeting (MEPC 81), to be held 18 to 22 March 2024.

The Action Plan outlines a number of tasks to be carried out by Member States through the relevant IMO organs. These include initiatives such as:

  • Establishing an experience-building phase (EBP) during which Member States and international organizations are invited to share lessons learned and best practices that have emerged in the implementation of the Revised Guidelines.
  • Enhancing public awareness, education and seafarer training
  • Developing targets and policies for underwater noise reduction
  • Developing tools to collect data and share information
  • Encouraging more research on underwater noise and its impacts on the marine environment

The Action Plan aligns with other initiatives the IMO is taking in this area. This year, the IMO and UNDP plan to launch the GloNoise Partnership project to assist developing countries to raise awareness, build capacity and collect information to support the policy dialogue on mitigating underwater noise from shipping.

Other agenda items

The Sub-Committee made progress on its work to develop and improve regulations around critical issues relating to ship design and construction, including alternative engineering design, propulsion and steering systems, emergency towing arrangements and novel technologies used to survey ship structures.
Source: IMO

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