Ultra-Low Emission Vessels

Going the extra mile for environmental protection

Limiting harmful emissions from ships is a crucial step for minimizing the marine industry’s overall impact on the environment, and one increasingly supported by national and international regulations. For ships operating in heavily populated areas, where air quality is a growing concern, minimizing airborne emissions is particularly urgent.

Bureau Veritas’ Ultra-Low Emission Vessels (ULEV) notation is for ships that go beyond existing MARPOL requirements for lowering emissions, fitting advanced air emission control technology onboard. This voluntary notation enables ship owners and operators to distinguish their fleets by demonstrating their commitment to environmental protection and performance.


  • Limit harmful, pollutant emissions from vessels and minimize environmental impact from shipping
  • Prepare vessels to comply with upcoming national and international environmental legislation
  • Prove your commitment to protecting the marine environment by going beyond regulatory requirements

Emissions control for all ships

Both newbuilds and in-service vessels of all types are eligible to be assessed for and receive an ULEV notation. All onboard internal combustion engines are considered, excluding those used for emergencies only or with power capacity less than or equal to 19 kW.

Assessing multiple emissions

The ULEV notation accounts for a number of gaseous pollutants, including hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate pollutants, thereby addressing overall air quality.

Earning an ULEV notation

In collaboration with engine and after-treatment system manufacturers, ship managers must provide relevant documentation for engine and after-treatment system specifications. After undergoing emissions measurement testing, engines and after-treatment systems are subject to a conformity check to ensure compliance with emissions limits. Finally, a surveyor conducts an onboard inspection to ensure compliance with relevant documentation and installation instructions.

Going beyond regulations

To develop the ULEV notation, Bureau Veritas collaborated with multiple industry players, adapting the European Commission’s Stage V policy for the marine industry. An ULEV notation proves that vessels have exceeded existing MARPOL requirements for pollutant emissions, helping ship owners demonstrate their green credentials and prepare for stricter legislation.


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    Tristao da Cunha - credit Jan de nul

    Tristão da Cunha

    Trailing Suction Harbor Dredger, Jan de Nul

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    Sanderus - Credit Jan de Nul


    Trailing Suction Harbor Dredger, Jan de Nul

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    Ortelius - Credit Jan de Nul


    Trailing Suction Harbor Dredger, Jan de Nul

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    Afonso de Albuquerque - Credit Jan de Nul

    Afonso de Albuquerque

    Trailing Suction Harbor Dredger, Jan de Nul

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    Diogo Cao - Credit Jan de Nul

    Diogo Cao

    Trailing Suction Harbor Dredger, Jan de Nul