MARS in brief

MARS is an applied research project dedicated to understanding the noise radiated by ships and proposing methods for its reduction. It is co-led by the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER) of the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) and Innovation maritime (IMAR), with the support of MTE and OpDAQ as well as ship owners (Algoma Central Corporation, CSL, Desgagnés, Fednav). The project is financially supported by Transport Canada and the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation.

This project relies on the design and operation of world-class instrumentation deployed in the St. Lawrence Estuary, offshore of Rimouski. There are two components, the URNS station (Underwater Radiated Noise Signatures) and the OBAVSI system (On-Board Acoustic and Vibratory Sources Identification):

  • URNS station: Four three-hydrophone vertical arrays (autonomous; radio-linked with on-shore facilities) measure ambient noise and the underwater radiated noise signatures of candidate ships, which are not required to significantly deviate from their routes.
  • OBAVSI system: The OBAVSI equipment includes tachometers, microphones, and accelerometers that are deployed on ships to identify and prioritize sources (acoustics, vibration) generating underwater noise

This instrumental platform will be deployed six months per year until 2023.

The platform provides two valuable functions. First, it collects measurements in support of research activities for:

  • developing protocols to measure ship-radiated noise
  • exploring connexions between radiated noise, environmental parameters, and ship operating conditions
  • identifying sources of noise within the vessel
  • developing a model predicting radiated noise
  • proposing and testing methods to reduce radiated noises; these methods must be compatible with the operational constraints of ships.

Moreover, the platform allows real-time measurement and report of the acoustic signatures of partner ships using the ANSI/ASA S12/64-2009 standard. The signatures (150 to 200 per year) are anonymized and then organized into a database to build a unique knowledge of the noise radiated by ships according to their type, their operating conditions and so on.

The MARS project conforms with the priorities of the Canadian government (Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) on ocean protection, its program to combat disturbances caused by marine traffic, and its silent vessel initiative. The project supports research and the development of innovative capabilities that are unique to Canada. It received support from domestic shipping professionals in Eastern Canada (Algoma, CSL, Desgagnés, Fednav).