European project launched to reduce the impact of underwater noise

Shipping noise disrupts and threatens marine life. In the European project SATURN, twenty project partners from ten countries will work on a cleaner, quieter maritime sector over the next four years. TNO, MARIN and Leiden University are involved from the Netherlands, as well as Dutch branches of the companies Wärtsilä and JASCO Applied Sciences.


What’s special about this € 8.96 million project funded by Horizon 2020 is that it can leverage a unique integrated and interdisciplinary approach with acousticians, marine biologists, marine engineers and class societies working together to devise and test innovative solutions to most harmful effects of underwater noise. The project is led by energy, climate and marine research center MaREI at University College Cork.


SATURN ‘s unique approach focuses on solutions for reducing and softening the components of ship noise that are most annoying to marine life. SATURN will work on uncovering the relationship between ship design and underwater noise production, on methods to cost-effectively assess the sound signature of individual ships, on understanding how marine mammals, fish and invertebrates respond to different sound levels and frequencies they receive, and on case studies to test the effectiveness of technical and operational efforts to reduce shipping noise through smart regional noise management policies. This will be a major change for the European maritime transport sector.


The Dutch partners in the project work throughout the project chain. This starts with the source of noise: a ship design that is as quiet as possible by MARIN and ship supplier Wärtsilä and ends with the measurable effects and consequences of that noise on fish, by Leiden University. With the company JASCO, TNO contributes its broad knowledge and expertise in the field of modeling and analysis of underwater noise.

SATURN has received funding from the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Union under grant agreement No. 101006443.

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