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Management measures to reduce continuous underwater noise from shipping

Underwater radiated noise (URN) from commercial ships is a significant source of elevated noise levels in the oceans and can have a negative impact on marine wildlife. Noise from commercial shipping places additional stress on the oceans, but is one of the least studied environmental pollutants, and there is an urgent need to reduce the aggregate stress levels.

Until recently, reduction of underwater noise has not been prioritised by ship designers,
shipowners, or crews. Even within the field of marine management, noise has received
limited interest. However, the International Maritime organization (IMO) has adopted
global guidelines on URN reduction, which are currently being updated. Within the EU,
the Marine Strategy Framework Directive now provides a framework for marine administrators to manage noise by establishing threshold values.

This report focuses on possible policy measures that the Swedish authorities could adopt to lower URN by regulating the speed of ships. The report presents an interdisciplinary analysis, using a case study of an area in the southern Kattegat that covered several maritime zones, different national jurisdictions, intensive traffic, and high natural values.



Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment Report No. 2023:3

Title: Management Measures to Reduce Continuous Underwater Noise from Shipping

Authors: Mathias Andersson, Rickard Bensow, Dag Glebe, Ida-Maja Hassellöv, Emilia Lalander, David Langlet, Kjell Larsson, Lars-Göran Malmberg, Eva-Lotta Sundblad, Mikael Svedendahl.

Recommended Citation: Andersson, M., Bensow R., Glebe, D., Hassellöv, I.-M., Lalander, E., Langlet, D., Larsson, K., Malmberg, L.-G., Sundblad, E.-L. and Svedendahl. M. (2023). Management Measures to Reduce Continuous Underwater Noise from Shipping. Report No. 2023:3, Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment.

Release Date: August 22, 2023

Pages: 84

Language: English

Download the high resolution version of the report (pdf, 6 MB)