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US Pacific ports urge government action on emissions and underwater noise

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma and their marine cargo operating partnership, Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), have asked for urgent and strong action from the US government on international maritime greenhouse gas emissions and underwater noise reduction.

In a letter to Secretary John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate, US Department of State, the three port entities in the state of Washington, US have clarified that they need support from the government to achieve the zero-emission target.

"We cannot achieve the vision of becoming zero-emission seaports without stronger international policies and programs to phase out emissions from international shipping and create a 'level playing field' across all seaports," said the ports in their joint letter and went on to add, "We are requesting strong leadership by the US in support of international action at the IMO in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations to reduce global climate pollution."

Furthermore, the port entities noted that underwater noise from large ships, which affects whales and other marine life, is a growing concern around the world.

"We urge the US delegation to push strongly for improved international standards to reduce underwater noise from vessels, including new technologies and ship designs," pointed out the ports.

The Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma and NWSA have recently led the creation of their Quiet Sound program to better understand and reduce the cumulative effects of acoustic and physical disturbance from large commercial vessels.

"We welcomed the support from Congress in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act directing the Coast Guard to support efforts to reduce vessel noise and disturbance in our region. Their further leadership at the IMO would build on their capability to fulfill that direction," added the three Washington port entities in their letter.

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