Southampton Solent University consortium to research seafarer fatigue

19 August 2013 (Last Updated August 19th, 2013 18:30)

Southampton Solent University has secured funds of $1.5m from the TK Foundation in Nassau, Bahamas, to carry out a new research project called MARTHA for maritime safety.

Southampton Solent University has secured funds of $1.5m from the TK Foundation in Nassau, Bahamas, to carry out a new research project called MARTHA for maritime safety.

Building on the HORIZON project into seafarer fatigue, which was allocated €3.4 million by the European Commission, the new project will continue the research and trial of recommendations made by experts at Solent University’s Warsash Maritime Academy and the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University.

The project, to be carried out by a consortium of research institutions, will be led by Southampton Solent University.

Other institutions in the consortium include the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the Centre for Maritime Society and Health of Esbjerg, Denmark, the University of Southampton and Dalian Maritime University in China.

Southampton Solent University project leader Professor Mike Barnett said the research carried out on project HORIZON has provided a scientific basis for fatigue mitigation programmes.

"MARTHA aims to take this data forward and produce models and recommendations that can be used to benefit the welfare of seafarers, increase the shipping industry’s management of fatigue and increase maritime industry safety," Barnett said.

As a result of the economic downturn, ships’ crews are under increasing pressure from demanding voyage schedules and they have to handle their tasks with fewer crew members.

The new project is aimed at exploring the necessary requirements for fatigue risk mitigation onboard vessels.

As part of the project, several studies will be carried out on the longer-term psycho-social issues affecting the fatigue of crews at sea and cultural differences in interpretation of the regulatory framework on hours of work and rest.

For a period of up to six months, individual seafarers and shipping firms will be invited to participate in web surveys and interviews, and the measurement of fatigue at sea.

InterManager, an international ship management association, will help the researchers find volunteers to participate in the new project.