Saturday, March 31, 2018

SAFARERS STUDY-out of four seafarers, one show signs of depression- A study

out of four seafarers, one show signs of depression- A study



More than a quarter of seafarers show signs of depression, and many won’t ask for help, according to a study of seafarers’ mental health presented at Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea conference on March 16, London.

The study of more than 1,000 seafarers was carried out by international maritime charity Sailors’ Society and Yale University, with more than one in six of the respondents coming from the UK.

Some 26 percent of seafarers said they had felt “down, depressed or hopeless” on several days over the previous two weeks, the study findings show.

Furthermore, the seafarers said the quality and amount of food on board can have a big impact on their mental health, alongside isolation from their families and length of their contracts.

Nearly half (45 percent) of the seafarers who reported symptoms of depression said they had not asked anybody for help. Around one-third said they had turned to family and/or friends, but only 21 percent said they had spoken to a colleague, despite spending months on a ship with them, the study finds.

“Shipping  is  perhaps  the  most  international  of  all  the  world's  great  industries,and also one of the most dangerous”(IMO, 2011).A range of approaches have been introduced to enhance maritime transport safety, such as developing new methods of transportation,   introducing   numerous   technical innovations,   increasing   traffic surveillance and control, etc. Nevertheless, accidents with catastrophic consequences still happen,which implies that all these measures are not sufficiently effective.Fatigue has been  identified as a  major  contributing  factor in numerous  maritime accidents,such  as  EXXON  VALDEZ ( Raby  and  Mc Callum,  1997)and  HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE(Wellensetal., 2005). In the competitive 24-hour industry where shift work and long working hours are common, the potential for fatigue at sea is extremely great.It  is illustrated in some recent publications that seafarers’ fatigue is  common  and  widespread (Smith,  et  al.,  2006;  Smith,  2007;Allen,  et  al,  2008). Moreover, fatigue can  cause more  hazardous impacts on the  shipping  industry  than elsewhere because  of  the  specific  characteristic of seafaring.Industry  participants such as maritime regulators, ship-owners, trade unions and P & I clubs have reached the consensus that fatigue on board is common in  the  marine  industry and it  is necessary to make joint efforts to deal with the issue.Generally considered  as a hotspot  issue in  the  shipping  industry, fatigue among
2 seafarers has  received  a  growing global  concern (Patraiko,  2006)and has been subject  to  many  studies in  recent  years.  In  1989,a  review(Brown,  1989)exploring the relationship between working hours, fatigue and safety at sea was published.The author considered inadequate reporting systems as the main reason why this problem was overlooked in legislative channels as few accident cases cited fatigue as a direct causal  factor. Eleven  years later, a similar  conclusion  was  made  in a review  focused on  the  British  offshore  oil  support  industry,  which concluded that  fatigue  had been noticeably under-investigated in the maritime domain(Collins, 2000).A proactive  approach  in  fatigue  management(Reyner  and  Baulk, 1995)was provided in 1995 by Reyner and Baulk after their study  on technical data  of fatigue among  seafarers. A  study at the Seafarers International Research Centre (1996) also addressed  the  fatigue  issue  in  terms  of  identifying  important  elements  for  further research and analyzing the unresolved components of fatigue itself. In 1997, a group of experts(Parker, et al., 1997)studied the health and lifestyle behaviors of seafarers,which turned  into  an  efficient  fatigue  investigation. Recently, the IMO issued the foremost important document addressing fatigue  issues  “Guidance on   Fatigue Mitigation  and  Management”1(IMO,  2001),  which  directly tackles  the issue of fatigue at sea.A number of research  projects are being undertaken  in the  UK, the  US,  Sweden and  doubtless  in  other  places  too. A  €3.78  million  European  Commission-funded 30-month  research  initiative  known  as  Project  Horizon2 was launched in  2009 to investigate  and  tackle  the problems  posed  by  seafarer  fatigue(Warsash  Maritime Academy,  2009).Developed  and  led  by  Warsash  Maritime Academy,  the  project brought together 11  academic  institutions  and  organizations  from  the  shipping industry,seeking to  improve  safety  at  sea  by  developing  a  fatigue  management.
3 toolkit  for  the  industry,  as  well  as proposing recommendations  for  improving  work patterns at sea(Practical Boat Owner, 2009).Although  many  studies  and  research  projects concerning  fatigue have  been undertaken in recent years, there are so far no effective or sufficient measures to deal with the  problem because  of  sophisticated  challenges,and lack  of knowledge. The complexity  and  difficulty posed  by the  fatigue  issue  today  in  the  shipping  industry reveal  the  need  for  further  research.  Considering  also  the  permanent effect and  the potential hazard that fatigue factors are posing to seafarers,additional studies need to be  undertaken  in  order  to  find  more  effective solutions  to the  problem.Lessons  can be  learned  from manufacturing industries and  other transport sectors, which  have  along  history  of research on human  fatigue and fatigue-induced  incidents(Allen, Wadsworth and Smith, 2008)