Illustration: © MaKars /

Big benefits of reducing ship speeds

The large positive effect that reduced speeds can have on ship GHG emissions is well known, but less attention has been given to other positive impacts on nature and human health.

A new report from Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment describes how a modest 20 per cent reduction in ship speed would reduce underwater noise pollution by 66 per cent, and the chance of a fatal collision between a ship and a whale by a massive 78 per cent.

Reduced ship speed means reduced fuel burn, resulting not just in reductions in GHG emissions but also big reductions in health-damaging SO2, NOx and PM (including black carbon), all important air pollutants.

“Killing four birds with one stone is pretty good, but when you add in that it saves shipowners money on their fuel bill, it really is a no-brainer,” said Faig Abbasov from Transport & Environment.

Source: Press release from Seas at Risk and T&E, 11 November 2019.

Link to the report:, and to a Clean Shipping Coalition infographic:



In this issue