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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Quick solution to the problem of fatigue at sea . . .

The issue of seafarer fatigue on board ships gets worse with every passing evolution. Whether it is shorter port turnaround, bigger and more complicated ships or reduction in headcount on board, fact remains, this is the only profession in the world where people have to fudge their time sheets to show that they have worked 98 hours in a week. While the rest of the world moves towards 35-40 hour weeks and quality of life parameters based, seafarers are pushed to the edge, and more.

Take a look here at what the MCA in England did to the Maersk Patras:-

And this is one of the biggest and best, blue of the blue, right?

One solution would be to change the watch-keeping pattern from 4-on 8-off to 3-on 9-off, viz, 4 watch-keepers instead of 3, under normal circumstances. An argument raised against this is that as it is there is shortage of trained manpower, so where will the shipowners get 33% more trained watchkeepers from?

The answer is also here - womenpower may yet solve the problem. The colateral effect of making seafaring a more attractive profession, by addressing the overwork and fatigue issues, will attract more young people, both women and men. We just have to give it a go.

So what can you do, active seafarer, at sea? One option is to start logging woking hour audits honestly, and when you are fatigued, logging it. Or writing in.

Humbly submitted.

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