Health, safety, environmental and security expectations

Increasing expectations for health, safety, environmental and security

Civil society, consumers and workers will become less willing to accept negative environmental and social externalities of economic activities in the maritime sector such as, e.g., accidents, water pollution, and unsafe working conditions. The expected increasing scarcity of qualified personnel will also motivate the sector to improve working conditions.

Societal expectations will, therefore, lead to the maritime sector becoming more socially and environmentally responsible by complying with stricter regulations and possibly by adopting voluntary standards. The impact of societal expectations related to health, safety, environmental and security on the maritime sector is rather moderate and will not fundamentally alter the sector’s future prospects.

Fuel oil maximum Sulphur content as loaded, bunkered and subsequently used on board were introduced for Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA) and outside them with a stepwise increase in the Sulphur content restrictions. Similarly, NOx emission reduction from 2016 require newly built ships to meet the 80% Tier III criteria when operating in a NECA, as shown in the figure below. Increasingly stricter regulation of emissions and widening of respective control areas is expected to continue. Abatement technologies have therefore been under development for the maritime market for several years based on technologies from the energy utility industry and transport sector.

All waterborne sectors
Considering that Society’s tolerance for social and environmental externalities will decrease and stricter regulations will follow, the waterborne sector will have to implement more measures to prevent accidents, reduce air emissions and water pollution as well as improve working conditions and security.

Regulations are in place and more under discussion to limit emissions form international shipping in the near future. New safety and security regulations are also continuously released for application to international shipping, with less public notice, however. Health standards will remain national or even local implementations.

Initiatives and standards will increasingly take into account the whole life-cycle of a ship, from raw materials used in shipbuilding to final dismantling.

Growing public expectations related to environmental protection will result in more non-governmental and industry-led initiatives with new and additional voluntary standards.

Blue economy-specific
The increasing expectation of society to the necessity of a sustainable use of the fishing resource will result in a slowdown and eventually stop of overfishing the seas and in a restoration of the fish stocks. The trend for higher population density in coastal areas in combination with Society’s increased environmental awareness will require developing coastal areas in a more sustainable manner.

Increasing ship sizes will require fairway and port infrastructures to be further expanded and developed to ensure safe ship transport and maneuvering. Waterborne infrastructures will also have to account for first (semi) autonomous ships operations.


c/o SEA Europe, Rue de la Loi, 67 (4th floor), Brussels B-1000, Belgium

Tel. +32 2 230 2791

THE WATERBORNE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM respects your data privacy. Why cookies? Simply because they are used to help the website function, to improve your browser experience. Click 'I understand' to accept cookies or click here for more information.

I understand