According to an in-depth study conducted by InterManager, a ship management association, mental and physical fatigue is a growing problem among seafarers.
The results of the study were presented to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, as part of the Project MARTHA, carried out by the Warsash Maritime Academy. The investigation gathered data from 100 seafarers working at sea worldwide about sleep patterns, fatigue levels, and psychological wellbeing.
The survey found that almost half of the participants (48.6%) felt more stressed at the end of a voyage and 61% felt more fatigue at the end of a voyage, regardless of the voyage length.
How seafarers fatigue affects the ship’s performance?
The study found that the longer the seafarers are at sea, their motivation decreases and stress levels are worse at the end of the voyage than the beginning.
The Master’s role is more demanding than other crew members. People with this role have more working hours, are slightly more overweight, and tend to sleep less.
Additionally, Project MARTHA also included the cultural differences, finding clear variations between European and Chinese seafarers. Chinese seafarers worked and an average of 15.11 hours a day, in comparison with European seafarers, who worked 10.23 hours a day.
As a result, Chinese seafarers presented higher levels of stress and fatigue that European seafarers.
Mike Barnett, former Project Leader for Project MARTHA and Professor of Maritime Safety at Warsash Maritime Academy said that the research could help the IMO to take future measures:
“The shipping industry has been following MARTHA’s progress with considerable interest, as the momentum for revising the guidance on fatigue has grown at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The findings from MARTHA are anticipated to have an influence on the eventual guidelines to be published by IMO.”
Capt Kuba Szymanski, Secretary-General of InterManager commented that little changes could make a huge difference in the future of the industry:“Our people are our assets and we need to develop a strategy whereby shipping is once again seen as a career of choice for tomorrow’s young talented people.”
More about project MARTHA here: https://www.intermanager.org/2016/11/martha-is-length-of-time-at-sea-to-blame-for-seafarer-fatigue-2/
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