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March 2012 | | telegraph | 25 PROJECT HORIZON

The simulated voyage between Fawley and Rotterdam that was used for the fatigue research

ve: a ‘wired-up’ chkeeper on the sash simulator

ht: a ‘near-miss’ dent in one of the the ulated voyages

: diff ering rates eep among the nteers working the

watches at Chalmers versity in Sweden

w: an EEG reading of

n activity showing erns of sleep for one chkeeper

‘Results cannot be ignored’

Nautilus has welcomed the results of the Project Horizon research into sleepiness at sea. The Union was one of the 11 industry partners involved in the

32-month study, representing the European Transport Workers’ Federation, and it is determined to see action being taken in response to the fi ndings. ‘Without a shadow of a doubt, this research has taken

knowledge and understanding of fatigue at sea to a new level, putting the shipping industry and seafarers in line with other safety-critical sectors,’ said Nautilus senior national secretary Allan Graveson.

‘What the study has demonstrated is that current working

patterns can no longer be justifi ed and are not acceptable on safety grounds,’ he added. ‘The research has shown in a scientifi cally robust way that the longer the time you are on watch, and the longer the time you are doing those watches, the more tired you become,’ he pointed out.

Mr Graveson said owners, operators and regulators need to

make a positive response to the fi ndings. ‘It would be a very foolish owner or operator that ignores the scientifi c evidence which is now available,’ he argued, ‘and especially so when such evidence is readily accepted in other transport sectors. ‘Failure to respond to such evidence has the potential to result

in very serious and adverse litigation and fi nancial penalties,’ Mr Graveson stressed. Other research has underlined the importance of the ‘human element’ in shipping safety — with studies showing that human factors are critical in more than 80% of collisions and groundings, for instance. ‘Given the acknowledged importance of human factors, it is

important that predictable and preventable risk is identifi ed and mitigated,’ Mr Graveson said. ‘We therefore believe that a fatigue risk mitigation assessment should become an integral part of the International Safety Management Code process.’

Scientists develop fatigue prediction tool JProject Horizon aims to leave a long-lasting legacy for seafarers

— with the results of the scientifi c research being used to develop a package to help reduce the risk of fatigue. The research delivered a wealth of

ey factor

detailed empirical data on the sleepiness levels of watchkeepers working 6/6 and 4/8 watchkeeping patterns, enabling scientists to analyse the impact of sleepiness on decision-making, reaction times and other key elements of performance. The research teams have also

been able to use the data to develop a new fatigue management toolkit for use by ship owners and managers, seafarers, regulators and others to help determine working arrangements to minimise risks to ships and their cargoes, seafarers, passengers and the marine environment. Known as Martha, the ‘maritime

alertness regulation toolkit’ has been developed from a similar system now being operated in the aviation industry, which uses mathematical models to predict alertness and performance over set periods. A computer-based system, Martha

will provide users with an interface in which they can input their watch

schedules over a six-week timeframe. The system will then display predicted estimates of the most risky times and the times of highest potential sleepiness for each watch, and for the whole watch schedule, as well as for time outside watch duty.

The major display contains

estimates for each 24-hour period, with a second display to describe each 24-hour period with sleep periods and a continuous estimate of sleepiness. This information may also be displayed as miniatures in the

main display. Researchers suggest that Martha

could be used onboard during voyage planning to develop watch systems that are effi cient and that minimise risk. Shipping companies can use the system when planning the size and

competence of the crew. The tool could also yield important International Safety Management Code benefi ts, and might be used for insurance and classifi cation purposes. Martha could also assist fl ag

states and port state control authorities, enabling solid documentation if, for example, a ship is to be detained in order to let the crew rest before the voyage is resumed. It could also be used for the prevention and investigation of accidents. The project has also identifi ed

recommendations for seafarers and for the industry on strategies for reducing the risk of fatigue. These include ‘sleep hygiene’ guidance for seafarers on how to get good quality rest and ways in which owners and managers can plan and monitor the workloads of their crews. ‘As researchers, we are putting this on the table and asking the industry what it will do about it,’ said Professor Mike Barnett, from Warsash Maritime Academy. ‘We have tried to make a contribution to the industry’s understanding of sleepiness and off ering a positive way of helping the seafarer with a tool that can be used in a systematic way to minimise risk. That is the way forward.’

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