Maritime News

New study reveals growth in fatigue at sea

3 February 2017

The results of a new study – Project Martha – presented to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), reveal that fatigue is a growing problem for people working at sea.

The USD3 million, three-year study, carried out by the InterManager association for ship managers, Warsash Maritime Academy, University of Southern Denmark, Dalian Maritime University, Stress Research Institute, University of Stockholm and University of Southampton, looked at 110 seafarers, of all ranks, who said they were more fatigued at the end of a voyage than at the beginning, whatever its length.

Seafarers said that the triggers for fatigue included increasing pressure from competitive voyage schedules and having to handle tasks with fewer crew members, as well as failure to be relieved of their duties on time. Almost half of respondents said they felt more stressed at the end of a voyage.

Masters and watchkeepers were found to experience the highest fatigue levels, with masters more prone to mental as well as physical fatigue.

The report found that Chinese seafarers worked on average 15.11 hours a day compared with 10.23 hours for European seafarers, and that seafarers from Chinese-managed companies had higher levels of fatigue and stress than those from European-managed ones.

Presenting the findings to the IMO, InterManager secretary-general Captain Kuba Szymanski said he hoped they would prompt ship managers and owners to revise their attitudes and procedures, “empowering seafarers to take care of their lives more than today”.

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