Fatigue And Its Impact On Seafarers

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Aswin AtreFatigue among seafarers has been the cause of concern for a while now.  Those involved in the industry realise that one cannot brush fatigue factor away by commenting seamen are not tough as they were before.

Regulating the working hours, and canvassing for the increase of Manning is being advocated.  If one administration is stringent about Manning, the shipowners change the flag to overcome this problem.  It has also been pointed out that depending upon the trade some seafarers are putting in long hours which leads to fatigue.  

While records of workings hours are scrutinised by the administration where the ‘can do’ attitude of seafarers sometimes leads to them working long hours without recording the same.

In order to overcome the fatigue, all of us know a sound sleep is the answer.  If one does not sleep properly, concentration becomes difficult.  If watchkeepers are not rested, there is every possibility an incident will occur.  A recent advisory from USCG has again reiterated this albeit for fishing vessels.

Nowadays most of the seafarers have their own laptops, Ipads or Iphones.  In their leisure period, they either watch movies or play games.  Here lies the danger. If the screens are stared at prior sleeping, Dr.Dan Steigel, clinical professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, warns about negative effects of screen viewing prior sleep can have on the brain.  

It might be worth to advise seafarers  especially watchkeepers staring at the screen before sleeping which not only makes it harder to fall asleep but also affects one’s alertness.  Clinical studies have confirmed the light from screen have a detrimental effect on one’s sleep.  Employers, it is suggested, alert their staff and perhaps increase the stock of printed matter on board that can be a bit of prior stimulation sleeping.

Reference: Huffington Post

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