Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) has built and delivered the first product tanker to receive the SILENT notation on their class certification from DNV.
This type of notation is voluntary and up to now has predominantly been the domain of passenger ships and research vessels due to the nature of their work and the corresponding need for the vessels to be as quiet as possible.
The SILENT notation allows environmentally conscious owners the chance to demonstrate that they have a low eco footprint. It has long been reported that underwater noise is considered one of the most harmful sources of marine pollution, along with emissions and contaminated water. This is largely due to the impact the noise has on the ability of marine organisms, particularly mammals such as whales, to communicate between themselves and this has a negative effect on their ability to navigate, reproduce and hunt.
Although currently only voluntary the IMO is discussing introducing measures to tackle the issue and Canada, the U.S. and the E.U. are also considering regulations to protect the marine environment. Unlike changes to emissions and ballast water regulations, which already came with an array of issues for owners, it is likely to be much harder to retrofit ships to make them comply with any new underwater noise regulations.
Therefore it is worth owners considering for new-build vessels not only the eco-friendliness of the fuel to be used but also the impact the vessels underwater noise will have on the marine ecosystems through which they are transiting, bearing in mind possible future regulations along with the desire to improve the green credentials of their organisation.