Sep. 20 2021 - 3 min

Improving sustainability is top of the mind for shipowners, as regulatory bodies and internal and external stakeholders push for the marine industry to lower its environmental impact. However, there is no recognized international standard or set of criteria that defines what it means for a ship to be “sustainable.”

To help shipowners communicate around their sustainability efforts and provide proof of their onboard improvements, Bureau Veritas published two new notations in July 2021. Developed with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in mind, these notations address five areas of sustainability:

  • Preventing sea and air pollution
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Protecting marine ecosystems
  • Preparing for ship recycling
  • Enhancing people’s wellbeing on board

The first notation, SUSTAINABLESHIP-1, recognizes shipowners that comply with a range of environmental regulations, such as MARPOL, the Ballast Water Management Convention and the Hong Kong Convention. It groups together a variety of Bureau Veritas’ additional class notations for sustainability, including CLEANSHIP, GREEN PASSPORT and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan. Shipowners can use SUSTAINABLESHIP-1 to prove compliance with all current statutory requirements.

SUSTAINABLESHIP-2 designates shipowners who go well beyond current statutory requirements to minimize their vessels’ environmental footprints. Building on SUSTAINABLESHIP-1, this notation adds several advanced requirements, including having either alternative propulsion or fuels onboard (e.g., battery power, electric-hybrid, LNG). SUSTAINABLESHIP-2 requires shipowners to address underwater radiated noise and ensure that internal combustion engines meet maximally strict standards for NOx and SOx emissions. The notation further includes a wellbeing onboard aspect, requiring owners to earn notations for onboard comfort, vibration reduction and vessel habitability.

By developing these two new notations, Bureau Veritas is giving shipowners a simple, direct way to translate their level of sustainability for marine and non-marine stakeholders. Each SUSTAINABLESHIP notation comprises a range of additional class notations, delivering a clear understanding of what shipowners have accomplished. This enables shipowners to take both a high-level and in-depth approach to communicating around sustainability performance as well as demonstrate social responsibility, tailoring the same key information to different audiences.