There is a price to be paid to achieve compliance with the acoustic requirements imposed by regulatory agencies. Acoustic requirements typically appear in ship specifications as airborne and/or underwater radiated noise limits as the need to preclude hearing loss for crew members and the need to control sound levels experienced by marine mammals receive more recognition. Recent changes and additions to regulatory body requirements addressing compartment airborne noise and underwater radiated noise can be found in IMO Resolution MSC.337(91) Annex 1 and Annex 2 which state that IMO Resolution A.468(XII) “Code on Noise Levels Onboard Ships” shall take effect on 1 July 2014 for all SOLAS compliant vessels. Thus the airborne noise levels in compartments and at on-deck work stations onboard as-built ships seeking a SOLAS certificate will need to be measured, and must demonstrate compliance with noise limits stated in paragraph 4.2 of IMO Resolution A.468(XII). IMO “Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping to Address Adverse Impacts on Marine Life” dated 7 April 2014 and agencies such as ICES and DNV have established guidance and/or criteria for control of underwater radiated noise from vessels, and these too are now commonly appearing in ship specifications. Specifications referencing such criteria typically require that compliance be demonstrated by at-sea testing of underwater radiated noise. Making the correct decisions during the ship design process will minimize costs for noise control and will provide a positive return on investment. The process of how best to comply with noise limits while minimizing costs through optimization of noise control treatments and design approaches is discussed.

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