Too little sleep threatens maritime safety

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The Paris MOU region (Europe and North America) arranged a resting hours campaign in the autumn. The campaign was in progress between the 1 September and the 31 November, with inspections on 4041 vessels. A total of 912 deficiencies under the Act on Periods of Rest for Seafarers were registered and 16 ships were detained. The results worry Richard Schiferli, Paris MoU Secretary-General, who wrote the following in a press release in January this year: ”Insufficient rest periods for watchkeeping personnel have already caused a number of serious incidents in recent years. These may be due to fatigue, a condition which can have serious consequences for safety and the work environment. The two-watch system is particularly sensitive in this respect.”

Eleven of the 16 ships that were detained were general cargo/multi-purpose ships, three bulk carriers, one container ship, and a ”miscellaneous vessel”. The most common cause of deficiencies was resting hours not registered correctly (449 cases), watchkeeping personnel given insufficient rest (203 cases), and lookouts not scheduled (101 cases). In 21 cases the manning level did not correspond to the established safety manning levels. The flag state with the most ships detained was Moldova, with three bans. More than a quarter of the ships inspected only had two nautical officers on board, and these ships were over-represented among those detained.

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