Global concern about the extent of seafarer fatigue is widely evident across the shipping industry. This paper provides an evaluation of the extent to which fatigue can be prevented and managed. Given the diversity of activities undertaken in the maritime sector, and the different profiles of fatigue risk factors in different work groups, it is clear that a range of strategies will need to be implemented.
One conclusion from the review is that current legislation and guidance on fatigue has not had the desired effect. The way forward is to treat seafarers’ fatigue as a serious health and safety issue. A starting point must be to take a more robust approach to regulation. Manning levels need to be addressed in a realistic way that prevents economic advantage accruing to those operating at bare minimum and the issue of false record-keeping requires urgent attention. This must be supplemented with appropriate training and guidance regarding avoidance of fatigue and the creation of optimum working conditions. Lessons can be learned from other transport industries and it is important to seek examples of best practice and apply these in an effective way to the maritime sector. Methods of addressing issues specific to seafaring are now well developed and a holistic approach to the problem of fatigue can lead to a culture that benefits the industry as a whole.
Centre for Occupational Health Psychology, School of Psychology
Cardiff University, 63 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AS, UK
Correspondence to Paul Allen, E-mail: smithap@Cardiff.ac.uk