During LISW 2019, Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President, Shipping & Maritime at Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd, highlighted how important is for the industry to continue its efforts on seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing and shared examples of Shell’s work towards a zero-incident future.
We are all biologically programmed to be active during the day and to sleep at night. Each individual has a body clock, and this clock regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. The body clock makes a person sleepy or alert on a regular schedule whether they are working or not. In normal conditions, the sleep/wake cycle follows a 24-hour rhythm; however, the cycle is not the same for everyone.
CHIRP issued its 56th Maritime Feedback focusing on reports discussing the impacts of fatigue and the importance of seafarers’ wellbeing when onboard. Managing stress and sleeping well at sea is an integral part of positive health and well-being on board, given that fatigue is a leading factor in accidents.
One of the significant amendments of STCW aimed to address the problem of fatigue, which is a raising concern for the maritime industry, by establishing the minimum hours of rest for watch personnel while at the same time harmonizing them with the MLC, 2006 provisions.
AMSA launched the ‘Fatigue Survey – Domestic Commercial Vessels’ focusing on the importance of seafarers’ wellbeing when onboard. The survey aims to get an insight into how seafarers cope with fatigue in order to develop specific guidance, while also encourage safe management practices.
NTSB issued an investigation report on the contact of the bulk carrier ‘Shandong Fu En’ with the Ergon-St. James Terminal Wharf, on the Lower Mississippi River, in April 2018. The report highlighted poor judgement resulting from fatigue as key cause of the incident.
Working onboard a ship is a routine; Seafarers – regardless their ranking – live, interact and sometimes perform functions in the same place. Fatigue can trigger sadness and vice versa while active engagement in social life onboard has a real and positive impact on seafarer’s welfare.
Good quality sleep is critical for people working onboard and in this context, shipping organizations need to take the first step and implement control measures in order to minimize any interruptions to seafarers’ sleep. The best way to control the health and safety risks arising from fatigue is to eliminate the factors causing fatigue at the source.
Resilience is a term that is widely known during the last years and refers to the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper. Namely, the term reaches beyond risk management towards a more holistic view of business health and success.
Prescribed hours of work and rest limits set out in IMO and ILO Conventions are considered to be the primary fatigue risk management requirements, setting minimum standards of compliance in international shipping. The industry needs more defensive layers than the hours of work and rest regulations to manage the risks of fatigue at sea.
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