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MARTHA - a new international research project

CMSS participates in a new international research project. Project MARTHA will explore the requirements for fatigue risk mitigation on board vessels and cultural differences in interpretation of the regulatory framework on hours of work and rest.

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 Health and Society 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 Foundation.
Editing was completed: 12.08.2013