On 02 July, a consortium of research institutions met at Warsash Maritime
Academy in the UK, for the first meeting of MARTHA, a new research project
funded by The TK Foundation, to build on the success of the HORIZON project into
seafarer fatigue.
Fatigue at sea and related issues, such as stress and work overload, are highly
topical and significant issues currently. Ships’ crews are under increasing pressure
from competitive voyage schedules, as a result of the economic downturn, and
have to handle their tasks with fewer crew members. Evidence from the accident
record and earlier research both point to the serious impact that fatigue may have
on safety and the welfare of seafarers.
One of the outcomes of Project HORIZON, has been the production of a prototype
fatigue prediction model for use in shipping operations. This prototype, called
MARTHA, is based on a theoretical model of fatigue, and uses the results of many
years of research effort from other industries, to produce algorithms, which
predict the levels of sleepiness of watch keepers. Such models may be used within
a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS), and one of the aims of the project is to
evaluate these systems in practice at sea.
Southampton Solent University will lead a consortium of leading research
institutions, including the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm, the Centre for
Maritime Society and Health of Esbjerg, Denmark, the University of Southampton
and the Dalian Maritime University in China. The project will explore the
requirements for fatigue risk mitigation on board vessels, through studies of 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. Individual seafarers and shipping companies will be invited to participate in
web surveys and interviews, and the actual measurement of fatigue at sea over
long periods of up to six months. The international ship management association,
InterManager, will support the academics in seeking volunteers to participate in
the project.
In accordance with a main focus of The TK Foundation, the impact of the project
will be to benefit the safety and welfare of individual seafarers across the world,
the efficiency of international shipping companies in the management of fatigue,
and the societal benefit of increasing the safety of the marine transport system.
The project will run for 3 years with $1.5 million of funding support from The TK