Jul 1, 2024
Shipbuilding & Repairs Industry and its impact on the ocean: analysis and solutions
Our new review on the sustainability of the shipbuilding and repairs sector has been released!

The shipbuilding and repairs industry plays a crucial role in the global economy, as it is closely connected to other key sectors like maritime transportation, ports, energy, and tourism. However, business activities in the sector impact the ocean and its environment in all phases, including construction, maintenance, and repair.  

In this report – conducted in the framework of the Ocean Disclosure Initiative project - we explore the pressures of the ship construction and repairs sector on the ocean and highlight some of the best practices to mitigate its environmental footprint.

The environmental pressures of the shipbuilding and repairs sector on the ocean

The sector struggles to adopt a "life cycle" approach to minimise the impact of ships throughout their lifespan and therefore exerts significant pressures on both air and water quality as well as on marine biodiversity.

This review identified the most significant industry pressures on the ocean, including:

• Substantial GHG emissions and release of air pollutants which lead to ocean acidification and water eutrophication;

• Use of toxic "anti-fouling" paints that cause chemical contamination of seawater;

• Introduction of marine litter through ship construction and demolition activities;

• Introduction of artificial light and underwater noise, which can cause alteration of behaviour and communication of marine species.

Sustainable practices to mitigate the impact of the shipbuilding and repairs sector

According to our review, there are potential solutions to mitigate the environmental issues of the sector, including:

• Implementation of renewable energy sources in shipyards and adoption of energy efficiency innovations to reduce GHG emissions;

• Application of non-toxic anti-fouling coatings to decrease chemical pollution;

• Disclosure of data on the ship recycling policies and efficient dismantling at the end-of-life stage;

• Improvement of ship design to minimise underwater noise and artificial light impact.

This review underscores the commitment of One Ocean Foundation to foster sustainable growth of the Shipbuilding & Repairs Industry while preserving our fragile marine ecosystems.

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