Ships earn "quiet" rewards at Port of Vancouver

FEBRUARY 15, 2017—“Quiet” ships will pay off in the Port of Vancouver. That’s because as of the start of this year the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority launched a new incentive criteria to offer discounts on harbor due rates for quieter ships in order to mitigate underwater vessel noise that might have an adverse impact on at-risk whales.

Vancouver is the first port and Canada is the first country to offer a marine noise reduction incentive to ship operators.

The new marine noise reduction criteria is part of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s EcoAction program, which was launched in 2007. Ships that could potentially reap the rewards of the program have class notations from Bureau Veritas Underwater Radiated Noise (URN), DNV GL Silent-Environmental (E), and RINA Dolphin; and use propeller technologies (Becker Marine duct, Propeller Boss Cap Fins, and Schneekluth duct) shown to reduce underwater noise. The program applies only to cargo and cruise vessels calling on the Port of Vancouver, which includes Burrard Inlet, the Fraser River and Roberts Bank terminals.

Overall, the EcoAction program also recognizes clean fuel, technology and environmental management options that make ship operators eligible to receive discounted harbor due rates. Alternative fuels (i.e. natural gas or biodiesel), hull design, vessel and engine technologies, and ship classification notations are among the areas evaluated in the program.

Port spokesperson Anna Deeley says that ships may qualify for different award levels—Gold, Silver, and Bronze—and may obtain up to 47 percent off the basic harbor due rate.

Among those participating are CMA CGM, Disney Cruise Line, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Holland America Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, K Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, NYK Line, Oldendorff Carriers, Princess Cruises, UASC, and Westwood Shipping Line.

The new noise reduction incentive grew out of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led ECHO Program, which launched in 2014 with the goal to better understand and reduce the cumulative impacts of commercial vessel activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia. The program is a collaborative research initiative involving marine transportation industries, conservation and environmental groups, First Nations individuals, government and scientists.

“Adding underwater noise reduction criteria to our EcoAction program is an exciting next step towards our long-term goal of reducing the impacts of shipping activities on at-risk whales,” says Duncan Wilson, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

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