Manual Passing Ships Are Not Always Quiet

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Georgia books view quotes. Nov 15, AM. Sudeep 38 books view quotes. Aug 30, AM. From August to October of , many of the container ships and merchant freighters travelling through the straits voluntarily slowed to 11 knots nautical miles per hour from speeds as high as 18 knots. That added half an hour to their journey, but reduced the thrum of their engines. For some ships, dropping by just 3 knots cut noise intensity in half. But during the slowdown, the noise dropped by a median of 1. A southern resident killer whale surfaces in the busy Vancouver Port Harbour.

Credit: Joan Lopez. But retrofitting a ship with noise control can be expensive, and all calls to hush ships have so far been voluntary. In , the Vancouver port authority started offering discounted rates for quieter ships, making Canada the first country in the world to host a financial incentive to reduce marine noise. But so far, uptake is limited: in , only 34 of roughly 3, ships visiting the area took advantage of the noise discounts. Meanwhile, acoustic prospectors are helping to identify other areas where noise might beneficially be reduced. Similar work has looked at noise pollution in the Mediterranean.

ships that pass in the night

Such work can also pinpoint areas that are both frequented by wildlife and still quiet — prime areas, Williams argues, for preservation. Existing conservation mechanisms, such as Marine Protected Areas MPAs , might be natural places to introduce the idea of limiting noise, Williams argues. The good news is that noise pollution can be tackled extremely rapidly; there are known solutions and effective ways to mitigate the risk. Weilgart says that the air guns typically used in seismic surveys could be replaced with an underwater vibrator that creates a smaller sound footprint and a lower peak pressure, reducing the chance of injury to marine life.

When regulators set limits on the noise of pile driving for offshore wind farms in Germany, Weilgart says, the industry quickly took up quieter methods, such as wrapping piles in a curtain of bubbles to absorb the sound. Companies are now coming up with ways of sinking the piles rather than hammering them in, she adds.

Vessels can be made quieter by elevating engines off the ship floor, or using propellers designed to reduce cavitation — the creation of tiny bubbles, which pop loudly when they explode. Modern communication methods can help ships to approach ports slowly, adds Tougaard, rather than speeding in only to idle just outside until a docking point becomes available. Many cruise ships now use electric motors to drive their propellers, mainly to reduce noise levels for their paying customers, but also to the benefit of marine life.

Fortunately, Weilgart says, most ship-quieting moves go hand-in-hand with improving fuel efficiency. Aquatic Mammals 35 , — Weilgart, L. McCauley, R. Nature Ecol. Rolland, R. Simpson, S. Nature Commun. Morisaka, T. Lusseau, D. Species Res.

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Williams, R. Oceanography 31 , 16—18 Veirs, S. PeerJ Preprints 6 , ev1 Download references. An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday. Advanced search. Search for this author in: Pub Med Nature. PDF version. Special offers are not refundable. Neither the Participating Operators nor their Agents can accept any responsibility for any failure in the provision of any special offers included.

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