Government of Canada supports design of the world’s first low-noise and low-emissions tanker to protect oceans health

News release

Powered by cleaner Canadian LNG, new tankers to be up to 90 per cent quieter than traditional tankers

August 30, 2019  Vancouver  Transport Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes that marine species, including the Southern Resident killer whale, are impacted by underwater vessel noise. Acoustic disturbances can reduce their ability to find prey, effectively navigate, and communicate with each other, while also creating stress. The Government is taking action, through the Quiet Vessel Initiative, to reduce underwater noise, protect the marine environment and foster the development of new technology, quiet vessel designs, and operational practices to reduce underwater noise.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced that Transport Canada is taking an important step in supporting the development of a new vessel design to decrease underwater noise, which will help in the recovery of Canada’s endangered, iconic whale populations.

The Government of Canada is committing to invest up to $30 million to support the development of the world’s first low-noise and low-emissions tanker, working toward an Agreement in Principle with Vancouver-based Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd. Working with Teekay provides access to private sector expertise and capital to deploy new technologies on low-emission and low-noise crude oil tankers operating in Canadian waters.

This world-leading low-emission and low-noise crude oil tanker will be equipped with the latest proven quiet technologies and powered by Canadian liquefied natural gas. To limit emissions and ensure the best outcome for marine life, the vessel will have specific design targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent and reduce noise by up to 90 per cent, compared to conventional tankers.

The agreement in principle with Teekay aligns with the Government’s promise to work with the shipping industry to develop and deploy the best available technologies and practices. Working together will support a safe, clean and efficient marine transportation system that improves marine safety and responsible shipping, and reduces emissions to improve air quality, while supporting economic growth. This reaffirms the Government’s commitment to building a Canada where protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand-in-hand.


“Our Government takes the protection of endangered marine species very seriously. This initiative is a unique opportunity to advance low noise technology in a deep sea commercial fleet, and a key component of the long term plan to mitigate the impacts of shipping on the Southern Resident killer whale. This is an important step for Canada’s plan to decrease overall noise in the region as findings are evaluated, shared broadly and applied to other vessels.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau,
Minister of Transport

“Protecting the iconic Southern Resident killer whale and biodiversity is a priority for our government. From designating new critical habitat to fisheries measures that help increase their prey, our government has taken action to recover this species. Today’s announcement will help mitigate noise disturbances and builds on the protection measures we already have in place to address the threats these whales are facing.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“We’re excited about the opportunity to partner with the Government of Canada in the development of environmentally leading marine shipping technology.  As the largest marine shipping company in Canada, headquartered in Vancouver, we are uniquely aware of the local needs and challenges requiring new industry solutions.  This is an opportunity to bring Canada to the forefront of safe and environmentally responsible shipping, not only here at home but around the globe.”

Kenneth Hvid,
President & CEO, Teekay Corporation

Quick facts

  • The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Since it started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast.

  • Actions through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Whales Initiative, the Emergency Order measures, and accommodation measures such as the Quiet Vessel Initiative have all been designed to address key threats to the Southern Resident killer whale throughout their critical habitat.

  • Building on the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada introduced last year the $167.4 million Whales Initiative to protect and support the recovery of three at-risk whale species: the Southern Resident killer whale; the North Atlantic right whale; and the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale. In October 2018, an additional $61.5 million was dedicated to address threats to the Southern Resident killer whale. These initiatives support the recovery of Canada’s endangered whale populations by addressing the main threats they face: lack of prey, noise and physical disturbance from vessels, vessel strikes, and pollution from land-based sources.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Media Relations Manager
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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