Polarcus, a Dubai-based seismic company, recently achieved DNV’s highest standard for environmental and energy-efficient ship operations by being awarded DNV’s Triple-E Level 1 rating for 6 of its modern seismic vessels.

Wide tow iceberg

“Our strategy is to be a service provider for oil companies operating in areas of high environmental sensitivity, including the Arctic areas,” says Polarcus CEO Rolf Rønningen. “We already see that the documented industry-leading green performance of our vessels gives us concrete credits when bidding for new charter contracts,” he continues.

The Polarcus fleet of eight high-spec seismic vessels is all built to the fuel-efficient ULSTEIN X-BOW® design and runs on marine gas oil as company policy to reduce the emissions of SOx. In addition, the vessels are equipped with exhaust-gas catalysts for the main-engine exhaust-gas lines in order to further reduce the emissions of NOx, HC and soot. The minimum discharge to sea is controlled by installed ballast water treatment systems, bilge water cleaning systems with a max threshold value of 5 ppm and the use of biodegradable lubricant oil, amongst many other initiatives.

“It’s one thing to invest in green technology on board the vessels,” says Rønningen, “but quite another to transform this into a lower environmental impact. We can actually demonstrate that our fleet emits a weighted average of five times’ less emissions in ECAs and 15 times less emissions in non-ECAs compared to a vessel operating according to a MARPOL compliance standard.”

The expansion of the maritime industry into more environmentally sensitive sea areas is expected to drive a much higher level of environmental compliance worldwide as new legislation on emissions to air and water emerges. “Our investments in ‘green’ technologies related to both our maritime and seismic operations and our commitment to a pioneering environmental agenda will be the only alternative for a sustainable shipping company in the years to come,” concludes Rønningen.

By Petter Andersen


Polarcus is a marine geophysical company with a modern fleet of eight seismic vessels operating globally both on contract and on multi-client surveys. Polarcus’s worldwide service capabilities encompass conventional 3D surveys, sophisticated wide and multi-azimuth projects and high-density 4D production surveys. The company’s fleet of vessels is designed and built to meet a high standard in terms of minimum emissions to air and sea. Polarcus was founded in 2008 and today has 540 employees from over 40 nationalities.

Triple-E™ is a voluntary environmental rating scheme for ships, providing ratings from Level 4 to Level 1, where 1 is the highest. The requirements are based on environmental management, ship operation and ship design. The rating is issued based on a verification of a ship’s actual energy efficiency and performance and gives a transparent and detailed view of the company’s and vessel’s environmental performance.