Fatigue affects decision-making and performance of seafarers
A pioneering research project investigating the way in which fatigue affects decision-making and performance of seafarers is set to publish its findings early in the new year.
Nautilus officials took part in a meeting at which preliminary results from the 32-month Project Horizon study were presented to members of the European Parliament and European Commission officials, and the Union will also take part in a further meeting with the European Maritime Safety Agency next week.
Part-funded by the European Commission, the 4m project made unprecedented use of ship simulators to replicate real-life working patterns and shipboard situations to examine how different watchkeeping rotas affect cognitive performance and decision-making over the course of a week.
Nautilus is one of the key shipping industry partners involved in the study. Other organisations include Warsash Maritime Academy, Bureau Veritas, the European Community Shipowners Association, the European Harbour Masters Committee, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Project coordinator Graham Clarke said the study has provided scientifically robust results that take knowledge and understanding of the impact of sleepiness at sea to new levels.
‘The initial findings clearly demonstrate the way in which different watch patterns affect performance and how the disturbances that may result from factors such as port calls, cargo work, bad weather or disrupted schedules may exacerbate these effects,’ he added.
The results of the research are being used to develop a fatigue reduction ‘toolkit’ – with a software program that will enable seafarers, ship owners and managers, and regulators to assess working schedules and take measures to mitigate their impact on watchkeepers.
The final outcomes of the research will be revealed at a special meeting of the Human Element Advisory Group in the UK at the end of January.