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Project Horizon - Sleepiness & Watchkeepers - Research-report-2012

Project Horizon - Sleepiness & Watchkeepers - Research-report-2012

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Published by: morgoths on Jul 27, 2012
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Research Report 2012
Part EU funded Project No. FP7 234000
with the cooperation of 
Project Horizon — a wake-up call
Research into the effects of sleepiness on the cognitive performanceof maritime watchkeepers under different watch patterns, usingships’ bridge, engine and liquid cargo handling simulators
Project Horizon — a wake-up call
Research Report 2012
What is Project Horizon?
Project Horizon is a major multi-partner Europeanresearch study that brought together 11 academicinstitutions and shipping industry organisationswith the agreed aim of delivering empirical datato provide a better understanding of the wayin which watchkeeping patterns can affect thesleepiness levels of ships’ watchkeepers.
Why was it set up?
The project was established to:
define and undertake scientific methods formeasurement of fatigue in various realistic seagoingscenarios using bridge, engineroom and cargosimulators
determine the effects of watch systems andcomponents of watch systems on fatigue
capture empirical data on the cognitive performanceof watchkeepers working within those realisticscenarios
assess the impact of fatigue on decision-makingperformance
develop a tool for evaluating potential fatigue risk of different watch systems using mathematical models.
determine arrangements for minimising risks toships and their cargoes, seafarers, passengers andthe marine environment
How did it work?
At the heart of the project was the extensive use of shipsimulators in Sweden and the UK to examine the decision-making and cognitive performance of officers during a rangeof real-life, real-time scenarios of voyage, workload andinterruptions. A total of 90 experienced deck and engineerofficer volunteers participated in rigorous tests at ChalmersUniversity of Technology in Göteberg, and at Warsash MaritimeAcademy (WMA) at Southampton Solent University to measuretheir levels of sleepiness and performance during seagoingand port-based operations on bridge, engine and liquid cargohandling simulators.The project sought to take understanding of the issues to a newlevel with specialist input from some world-leading transport andstress research experts. Academic experts at WMA, Chalmersand the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University (SRI)devised the simulator scenarios, setting the requirements forfatigue measurement and determining performance degradationmeasures for watchkeepers, and SRI analysed the results fromthe week-long programmes.Finally, in response to the research findings, the Project Horizonpartners have developed a fatigue management toolkit for theindustry, which seeks to provide guidance to owners, operators,maritime regulators and seafarers to assist them in organisingwork patterns at sea in the safest and healthiest way possible.
What is fatigue and is it different fromsleepiness?
Fatigue is commonly described as a state of physical and/ormental exhaustion that can be caused by a wide range of factors, including long hours, shift work, inadequate restand international travel. It can result in a progressive declinein alertness and performance, a loss of energy and slowedmovements and reactions.Although sleepiness is often used to describe the state of fatigue, it is generally defined separately as a specific state inwhich an individual is struggling to maintain wakefulness.Laboratory research and studies in other transport modes havedemonstrated that severe sleepiness (and even sleep onset)and performance deterioration is common amongst workersundertaking night shifts.
Project Horizon - a wake-up call
Fatigue is also an important health issue, with significantevidence to show the way in which long-term sleep loss can be arisk factor in such conditions as obesity, cardiovascular diseaseand diabetes.
Why is fatigue an important issue forshipping?
Shipping is the ultimate 24/7 industry. Inherently globalised inits nature, the industry is complex, capital-intensive, increasinglytechnologically sophisticated and of immense economic andenvironmental significance. More than 80% of world trademoves by sea, almost 90% of EU external freight trade isseaborne, and some 40% of intra-EU freight is carried byshortsea shipping. Around 40% of the world fleet is beneficiallycontrolled in the EEA, and EU-registered tonnage accounts formore than 20% of the world total. On average, around fourmillion passengers embark and disembark in EU27 ports every year – the vast majority being carried by ferries.The increasingly intensive nature of shipping operations meansthat seafarers frequently work long and irregular hours. Andfactors such as noise, vibration, sailing patterns, port calls,cargo handling and other activities can all reduce the ability of seafarers to gain quality sleep during their rest periods.Seafarers are already usually covered by company, sector-specific, flag state or IMO rules banning or severely restrictingalcohol use at sea. Studies have shown that around 22 hoursof wakefulness will have a similar effect upon the impairmentof an individual’s performance as a blood-alcohol concentrationof 0.10% -- double the legal driving limit in most EU memberstates.
Is there evidence of safety problems?
The role of fatigue and sleepiness in other safety-criticalindustries and in other modes of transport has been extensivelyresearched. In contrast, there has been very little shipping-based research and studies of seafarers’ working hours andit has been largely over the past 20 years that an increasingweight of evidence gathered from research among seafarers andanalysis of the role of fatigue in accidents at sea has begun toemerge.Project Horizon was established in response to growing concernabout the increased evidence of the role of fatigue and sleepinessin maritime accidents. The project is therefore closely aligned tothe FP7 (Sustainable Surface Transport 2008 RTD-1 call) aimsof increased safety and security, and reduced fatalities.Over the past 20 years, the shipping industry has becomeincreasingly aware of the importance of the ‘human factor’in safe shipping operations. The increased complexity of ships’ systems and the growing technological sophisticationof onboard equipment have placed greater emphasis on theperformance of seafarers – and watchkeepers in particular. Themarked increase in the size of passenger ships and cargo vesselshas also highlighted the potential for substantial loss of life orpollution in the event of an accident.As awareness of the importance of the human factor in shippinghas grown, recognition of the role of fatigue in maritime safetyhas also increased. There have been a number of high-profileand often costly and damaging casualties in which seafarerfatigue has been shown as a key causal factor. These include:
Exxon Valdez
tanker disaster in 1989. The US NationalTransportation Safety Board found that in the 24 hours priorto the grounding of the ship, the watchkeeper had only hadfive or six hours of sleep
the grounding of the general cargoship
in Scotlandin June 2003, after the chief officer fell asleep and missedan intended change of course
the grounding of the bulk carrier
Pasha Bulker
near theport of Newcastle in Australia in June 2007, in whichan investigation report stated that ‘the master becameincreasingly overloaded, and affected by fatigue and anxiety’
the grounding of the feeder containership
in the Isles of Scilly in March 1997, after the mate fell asleep and the shipsailed for two and a half hours with no one in control
the death of a Filipino AB in a fall onboard the Danish-flaggedgeneral cargo ship
Thor Gitta
in May 2009. Investigatorswho used FAID fatigue assessment software found that the
Research background

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