Canada proposes new work output IMO MEPC

Canada, with support from the United States and Australia, is proposing a new work output on underwater noise at the 75th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and would appreciate your support for this important initiative.

Commercial shippingtraffic following established routes often transects, or comes in proximity to, sensitive marine habitats. In recognition of the potential adverse impacts on marine life, and the increasing size and number of commercial ships operating over large geographic areas, in 2014 the MEPC approved Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping to Address Adverse Impacts on Marine Life (MEPC.1/Circ.833).

Since the establishment of the Guidelines, scientific evidence regarding the adverse impacts of underwater noise on the marine environment has continued to grow. Technical solutions have also advanced and the international community has embraced the concept of sustainable oceans and the Blue Economy. In addition, work is underway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial shipping with potential synergies for reducing underwater vessel noise.

With this context in mind, and in support of the 2020 World Maritime Theme of “Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet”, it is an opportune time for the IMO to further consider this important issue.

The new work output proposal put forward by Canada (MEPC 75/14), the United States and Australia requests the MEPC to task the Ship Design and Construction Sub-Committee to review the 2014 Guidelines with a view to, among other things, identifying barriers to the implementation of the Guidelines and ways to address them, identifying new technology and innovations that may help reduce underwater vessel noise and potential co-benefits for energy efficiency and GHG reduction, and recommending measures to further prevent and reduce underwater radiated noise and encourage action.

The proposal also recommends that the Secretariat engage in discussions with potential donors, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), regarding the funding of a global underwater noise project.

An interim report is proposed for MEPC 77, and a final report to MEPC 79.

For more information, contact Transport Canada for more details at:

Review infographic in English and French.