Project description

In 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) published the Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping to Address Adverse Impacts on Marine Life (MEPC.1/Circ.833) (the Guidelines). IMO’s guidance to address underwater vessel noise recognized two opportunities for mitigating the adverse effects of underwater vessel noise: routing and operations; and ship design and maintenance. Routing and operations offer important mitigation options that can provide an immediate acoustic benefit; however, ship design and maintenance provide the best long-term solutions.


The IMO’s adoption of the Guidelines has been useful to identify ship designs, technologies, and operations that are likely to reduce underwater vessel noise. New additional evidence to support and expand upon them, however, has emerged while certain aspects of ship designs and related technologies are likely to have changed.

Despite this substantial progress in achieving international consensus on establishing IMO Guidelines, negative impacts on marine species and ecosystems persist and the uptake and in turn the effectiveness of the Guidelines is largely unknown.


The purpose of project Benchmarking Study on the Implementation of the International Maritime Organizations’ Underwater Noise Vessel Guidelines is to determine whether the IMO’s Guidelines are known and implemented internationally in order to build the evidence base for how the Guidelines could be improved and whether moving to mandatory quiet ship design standards is required.

Project Officer

Clive Schofield

Professor Clive Schofield is Head of Research at the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden. He was previously Director of Research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia and remains a Visiting Professor with ANCORS. He holds a PhD (geography) from the University of Durham, UK and an LLM from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Tafsir Matin Johansson

Dr. Tafsir Matin Johansson is employed as an Associate Research Officer at the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (Global Ocean Institute) in Malmö, Sweden. Prior to joining the Global Ocean Institute, Tafsir served as Research Associate at the World Maritime University (WMU) where he has held office since 2013. Tafsir is a policy analyst with a Ph.D. in Maritime Affairs from WMU, an LLM in Maritime Law from the University of Lund, Sweden, and an LLB from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.



Project Duration

November, 2018 to March, 2019