UN ECE Inland Water Transport Meeting



The underwater radiated noise produced by inland water vessels has received comparatively little attention compared to their marine counterparts. On 16 February, SATURN was invited to present at the 60th Session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Inland Water Transport (SC.3) to shed light on potential mitigation measures to reduce the noise produced by inland vessels.


Researchers Dr. Hans Slabbekoorn and Dr. Thomas Lloyd presented during the workshop "Prevention of Pollution from Inland Vessels and Greening of IWT", which was held with simultaneous interpretation into the three official languages of UNECE - English, French and Russian. The workshop addressed various topics related to the prevention of pollution from inland waterway vessels and reducing the environmental impact from inland navigation, touching on topics such as legislative frameworks, collection and management of waste generated aboard vessels, vessel modernisation and the 'greening' of the inland fleet, and the prevention of water and air pollution, including pollution by noise. Delegates in attendance represented transport ministries of the UNECE member countries and included participants from disciplines such as inland and coastal navigation, waterway administrations, the European Commission, river commissions, industry, academia and other key players.


Dr. Hans Slabbekoorn and Dr. Thomas Lloyd presented about ways to mitigate and reduce the negative impacts of ship noise that can be applied to current and future vessels, including technical solutions to mitigate ship noise, standardisation of measurements, procedures, and criteria, and the importance of extending underwater noise research and mitigation measures to inland water vessels, some of which have heavily loaded propellers that produce large amounts of cavitation — one of the primary sources of vessel noise.


Efforts to reduce this noise will be supported by the ongoing development of an ISO shallow water acoustic measurement standard, which SATURN is contributing to. Saturn researcher Michael Ainslie and the working group in charge of creating this standard hope that it will be published in summer of 2022.


For more information on the standard, see our recent news post: Developing a New Standard for Underwater Noise.

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