Seafarers Fatigue

25% of all ships caused 51% of marine accidents and one reason behind these accidents is seafarers’ fatigue”DNV study reveals

Our Shipping industry is well acquainted with the increase of seafarers’ fatigue onboard. All shipping personalities and decision makers are well-aware of the damages that fatigue may cause to the life span of the human as well as to the environment. Stay away from home for long period, limited communication and consistently high work loads on seafarers are the reasons, which are traced to cause seafarers’ fatigue. This may further lead to performance reducing, environmental damage, ill-health and reduced life-span of highly skilled seafarers. Healthy crewing and safety at sea are other issues but not the least, which will obviously suffer.

What is Fatigue?
Physical Fatigue and Mental Fatigue are the two types of Fatigue. Loss of productivity is the primary symptom of fatigue at its earlier stages which follows by accidents within the ship or cause groundings, collisions even to the extent of sinking of ships at the advanced stages.
Reports on fatigue at sea:
Research and literary review, although less, illustrate ‘fatigue’ as a major problem allied with excessive work hours, odd shift pattern, poor sleep quality, negative environmental factors, high job demands and high stress. Adverse work condition, health disorder, frequent port visits are also some documented factors nurturing fatigue. The outcome of this fatigue is increased human error boosts the risk of collisions, groundings and risk of personal injury and injury to others.

Outcome of fatigue:
Lot of statistical review findings reveal close connections between fatigue and accident at sea, caused from less manning and long working hours. In recent years, many accidents have occurred because of crew-errors who were suffering from physical difficulties. These physical difficulties also lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and sleeping disorders. Researches also find that the current working conditions of seafarers, especially under-manning, have increased the risk leading to fatal injuries and consequences.

Measures to Prevent fatigue:
Currently, ‘Fatigue’ is the most severe and widespread factor that the industry is facing and there is a strong need to create awareness on this issue. The industry should emphasise fatigue as a serious health and safety issue. The manning levels should be approached in a realistic way. Ships that are poorly maintained with insufficient seafarers should not be allowed to sail as well as the rest period of seafarers should be lengthened. Additional burden of paperwork related to security issues should be minimised. Proper training and guidance regarding avoidance of fatigue should be offered and this should be supplemented with the healthy working conditions on board. Finally, an urgent holistic approach to solve out the problem of fatigue is needed that can benefit the industry as a whole.

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22 replies »

  1. yea i really appritiate this article here the most important point is taken in consideration all companies are required to think about it and some sminars must be held participated by all companies to fught against fatigue

  2. Many shipping companies are still blissfully turning an blind eye towards the problem of seafarers fatigue as the shipping industry is centred around the commercial gains to the shipowners and Charterers and there is no central body which can realistically address this issue.

  3. There is only one way to solve this problem… compulsory 28days on / off with round the year better wages that reflect the responsiblities that the job demands. The seafarers are selling themselves cheap… giving away their lives for small money.

  4. Very nice article, everybody knows about it, but everybody want to turn the blind eye towards it. One who is getting affected should think about it. Owner will always want to cut down the expanses. That is his business. If he allowed to, he will reduce the salary to half.

  5. Golden era of shipping for seafarers had been diminished,mostof the sailers is unable to live in the society becuase of this fatigue.This is high time for experienced sailors may bargain for better packages before joining.

  6. On board each of the container ship the Deck officers are completely exhuasted by the time the cago is completed. At this condition is only matter of time when a major navigational accident occurs. It can be easily avoided by increasing 1 officer in the safe manning. But no one bothers.

  7. yes i m also totally agree with the statement made here. IMO is taking steps to increase the safety aspect by providing rules but i m sure they must be aware that to follow a rule we need manpower . there are no steps taken to increase the minimum standard of manpower .

  8. Its true totally,Depending on the age of ship.Its become difficult to adjust with the rest hours and other operations on board which are always time bound.Practical measures to be taken by the Administrations to look into the manace because ISPS brought us lots of stress level

  9. This is awesome point raised by them , its very true, due to company cost saving policy, there are less people on board irrelevant to workload, that all make a stress atmosphere on board, this stress is pushing mariners into deep loss ,less efficient & companies not getting optimum out of them.

  10. A very important point of discussion during acciedent investigation. I would suggest the minimum safe manning document must be revised on the basis of sefarerers work/rest hour records.


  12. All the superiors and bosses do is just talk.since past so many years seafarers are suffering with this problem. inspite of stern laws the owners yet manage to cut down manning on their ships.the result is already entrants have started disliking our proffession.

  13. Casualty due to fatigue is nothing new. It has been a long standing problem to which there has been no solution. Despite reams of written material, vessel Owners continue to reduce crew on board, and IMO on its part continues to add more paperwork. I see no solution to this problem.

  14. yes i agree with that,as ports stay,crew on board reducing,new regulations,psc inspections and commercial pressure this will take its tall on sea farers and safety.superficial paper work has been increasing

  15. The article has highlighted few points related to fatigue and stress. There should be an independent survey on the subject and how to combat this menace of fatigue and stress in todays commerical world, which is the primary cause behind accidents wherein the human erorrs are prime contributory.

  16. The only practical way to remove the fatigue and make the job enjoyable is to 1. increase man power 2. Make the wages moderate 3. totally remove ism 4. make the stcw courses obselete 5. 99% of the stcw courses are of absolutely no use to any seafarer nor the shipowner.

  17. Ships crew fatigue is a very serios and demanding issue to which ship owners turned blined eye. ship owners wants to make profits by cost cutting and this is well supported by our manning company s ashore. owners dont want to compensate for additional work loads seafarers had to put in for safe op

  18. The article is fantastic but it is about a dream which would never come true. Seafarers will be exploited till the industry exists. Nothing is going to happen for the well being of seafarers, rather they will be squeezed to death. So the best thing is to earn and save maximum b4 our juices dry out

  19. the issue of fatigue is known to all and now we all must tak measures to find solutions to it which must be a balanced between owners interest , work on board and rest hrs of sea farer. increase manning , reduce unneceessary paper work, sharing of duties and paperwork with engineers may solve.

  20. this article calls for a serious thinking. its really an excellent article. and i dont understand y the IMO, whi makes so many rules and regulations for safety, doesnt consider this matter? do they get anything under table from shipping companies to keep their eyes closed on this matter?

  21. related to this topic I ask, is it realistic the safe manning norm for a ship should be revised as vessels become aged ? as we all seafarers experienced more work load on aged vessel, all survey for machinery & hall increases with the vessel age increases.

  22. Seafarer should be given some time fo meditation. Play indoor games like, T.T., carrom, chess. Organise weekly get togethers, share jokes.

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