Seafarers' fatigue warning from maritime union

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 31 Mar 2017

HE shipping industry has been warned to be vigilant and alert to the dangers associated with fatigue among seafarers.

The call comes from Nautilus International, the maritime professional’s trade union, after research found that it can result in long term physical and mental health issues.

It follows the publication of findings by the  $1.5 million Martha project which examined the issue. It found that the quantity of sleep and individual motivation decreases in line with the length of a voyage, which has a direct impact on developing physical and mental health issues.

The study was carried out by researchers from universities in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and China. It drew on data gathered from almost 1,000 seafarers and included detailed analysis of fatigue level reports, sleep patterns and the psychological wellbeing of crew members gathered during voyages around the world. It also found that night watchkeepers get significantly less sleep than others onboard and masters suffer more stress and fatigue than their crews.

It followed on from an EU-funded Project Horizon sleepiness study on cognitive performance. Nautilus took part in the initiative along with 11 other industry and academic partners, leading to the development of an industry-first fatigue measurement toolkit.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “There seems to be a distinction between ship and shore when it comes to employee safety and duties of care. While the working time directive dictates you can’t work more than 48 hours per week, there are growing numbers of seafarers working well over this with their employers not adhering to on-shore work legislation.

“Nautilus needs to continue to put pressure on the industry to push it into action. Physical and mental fatigue can not only impact on an individual, but also on the vessel as a whole. It’s a very serious issue which must be addressed and measures taken for the issue to be alleviated.”

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