Are There Noise Regulations for Ship Machinery?

Are There Noise Regulations for Ship Machinery?

Did you know that there are regulations in place to protect mariners from ships making excessive noise? These regulations are designed to save maritime workers from injuries that could occur like hearing loss.

Last July, under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), a new amendment was added under the “Code on Noise Levels on Board Ships,” concerning new ships being built. According to Professional Mariner, the amendment lays out regulations for machinery noise limits when it comes to spaces, workshops, control rooms, accommodations and other onboard spaces.

Some of the machines on ships that make noise include:

  • Main and auxiliary pumps
  • Turbochargers
  • Compressors
  • Fans
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Thrusters and propellers
  • Engine air-intake and exhaust systems

Retired Rear Adm. Joe Carnevale, a senior defense adviser at the Shipbuilders Council of America in Washington, D.C., said that shipbuilders have made progress in noise reduction. He said noise is a significant issue for anyone spending his or her working life on ships, according to Professional Mariner.

“Going into and coming out of a space may not present a noise problem,” Carnevale said, according to the news outlet. “But it’s different when you’re in that space for four-hour watches at a time for several months. What matters is the level and duration of the noise, the length of sailing time and a mariner’s years on the job.”

Having a Maritime Injury Investigated

Over the years, Latti & Anderson has represented people who have developed loss of hearing from excessive noise on tugs. In one case, a cook was exposed to excessive noise from the engine room which was right next to the galley and in his sleeping quarters.  Latti & Anderson was able to prove after hiring a noise consultant to test various areas of the tug that the noise level was not in compliance with regulations. Latti & Anderson LLP recovered $500,000.00 for the Plaintiff’s reduced hearing after proving that the vessel was unseaworthy and his emlployer was negligent.

It is a good sign that shipbuilders are doing a better job at reducing noise. However, if you suspect that you have noise induced hearing loss due to excessive noise on a vessel, it is important that you see a doctor and then contact a maritime attorney to discuss your options under the law as  you may be covered by the Jones Act and other maritime laws. Please view the video above for more information about maritime law.

Latti & Anderson LLPNationwide Maritime Attorneys