Industry Updates: Seafarer’s fatigue, its causes and consequences

A recent white paper produced by Dr. Konstantinos Perrotis, HR Manager of Aspida on Seafarer’s fatigue, it’s causes and consequences has raised a debate about amongst maritime regulators, ship owners and trade unions showing the great concern around fatigue, especially due to its great potential in terms of environmental consequences in case of an accident.

Minimal manning, rapid port turnarounds, oscillating weather conditions and increased traffic pose a number of reasons of why fatigue is a widely met phenomenon.
The UK Marine Accidents Investigation Branch and the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin (Alert, 2007) state that most of the accidents reported are based in the majority of the cases on human error. As such incidents of injuries, sicknesses and accidents have become a common phenomenon. What is necessary in order to start reversing this pattern is awareness and cultural change, both in maritime organisations and in the personal attitude of seafarers.
Portman have teamed up with Harley Street nutritionists Healthy Aspirations to provide tips and advice for our Healthy- Portman Trip Planner guide to help our clients beat jetlag when travelling.
Business travellers know jet lag can have significant effects on the body's ability to function optimally. Rapid air travel across several time zones disrupts the traveller's biological clock and can cause disturbed sleep, poor concentration, fatigue, disorientation, poor appetite and stomach upset, the levels and severity of which vary according to the length of flight and the number of time zones crossed. The direction of travel also impacts on the severity with westward flights affording a faster recovery than eastward flights and that sleep quality is particularly decreased after eastward flights.
Typically three days are needed to resynchronise on a westward flight say from Poland to the United States whereas as many as eight days are required for a flight in the opposite direction. The rate of re-adaptation also varies for each individual; Factors which influence the rate of adjustment include personality type, behavioural traits and sleep habits.
Whilst jet lag can affect individuals differently, there are some key tips provided by our partners at Healthy Aspirations, a team of top nutritionists based in London's Harley Street, on minimising the effects:

   -   Adapt your Bodyclock: Minimise the effects of jet lag by adjusting your body clock by an hour a day to fit with the time at your destination - your body clock should be in synch with local time at your destination and jet lag should be minimal. Even a partial alteration of your regular bedtime can have a dramatic reduction in the length and severity of jet lag symptoms.

   -   Use Light: The body clock or circadian rhythm is controlled by the production of key hormones and of these, melatonin plays the greatest part.  During a normal day the body produces melatonin when day light starts to fade, with the highest body levels peaking at about midnight. Conversely daylight perceived by the retina of the eye causes melatonin levels to drop leading to greater alertness and wakefulness. The manipulation of light therefore can be a very effective way of reducing or promoting melatonin levels and in so doing, reduce the severity and duration of jet lag. 

   -   What to Eat and Drink Onboard:  Air travel can disrupt the normal functioning of your digestive system which can result in uncomfortable bloating, indigestion and disrupted bowel function, which can often last for several days whilst at your destination. This coupled with the low moisture content in the air on planes makes what you eat and drink while onboard important in ensuring a comfortable trip and minimising any jetlag

   -   Our partnership with leading nutritionists helps us give our clients advice how to have effective, healthy and productive trips.
 The White Paper goes on to discuss fatigue and how it can also be classified as physical and/or psychological.

Click here to read the whole white paper.

To find out more about the information in this newsletter speak to your Portman Marine & Offshore team on 01224 261058 or email us at marineandoffshoretravel@portmantravel.com