Project ‘NEPTUNES 1.0’

Source of noise

Typical examples of relevant noise sources are:
Engine room ventilation, funnel outlets of the auxiliary engine(s), fans, reefers, cargo pumps, PA-systems, ship horns, compressors, generators and ramps.


An essential part of the project is to gain insight into the noise production of seagoing vessels and to get a better picture of how nuisance and inconvenience perceived by residents can be prevented or mitigated.


NEPTUNES aims to increase the awareness and support to mitigate noise from seagoing ships. In order to do so, this project includes quantification, characterization and classification of the airborne noise emission from individual seagoing ships at berth in ports and best practices for preventing and controlling noise pollution and noise propagation.

Extent of shipping noise

Number of complaints increases ports are growing, and residential districts are creeping closer to the ports, vessels become larger, number of vessels increases and locals demand more.


It is quite a challenge to lower noise pollution from seagoing vessels. At the moment of running the NEPTUNES 1.0 project, there was very little recorded information and standardized data regarding noise, nuisance, and annoyance in and around ports. Furthermore, no universal method to measure noise from seagoing vessels existed, and there was and still is no real urgency to design these quieter ships that goes beyond protecting seafarers from noise while at sea.

NEPTUNES 1.0 is aimed to increase awareness and support to mitigate noise from seagoing ships. The main objective of the project was to get insight in the quantification, characterization, and classification of the airborne noise emission from seagoing vessels at berth in ports and best practices for preventing and controlling noise pollution. 

The objectives derived from the main objective are to realize:

  1. A structured insight into the scope, nature, and cause of noise pollution and effective measures already implemented.
  2. An overview of laws and regulations related to noise pollution.
  3. Measurement protocol for the quantification of noise performance.
  4. A provisional method for a noise label of a ship, based on its noise performance.
  5. A Best Practice Guide with measures and interventions to reduce noise, nuisance, including ‘noise awareness’ methods to be employed.


Full description of the project

Complaints about noise from (seagoing) vessels at berth are increasingly becoming an environmental issue. This is mainly due to the increase of the population in the residential areas around the ports, and the rise of the number of residential areas being built closer to the port itself. To achieve sustainable port development and operations there is a desire to reduce the problem of noise pollution. As this problem concerns vessels calling at different international ports, the NEPTUNES-project is initiated in order to tackle noise pollution from moored vessels in co-operation with ports from all over the world. So far, eleven ports are participating in the project (see table below). The project is called ‘NEPTUNES’ (Noise Exploration Program To Understand Noise Emitted by Seagoing ships), inspired by the god of the sea in Roman religion (‘Neptune’).

An import part of the project will be gaining insight with respect to the production of noise from sea-going vessels, so that the occurrence and sources of hindrance can be better understood. By mitigating the noise of seagoing vessels the quality of life for the residents living in and around the port will improve while the reputation of the port authority will be positively influenced.