Working hours aboard the Danish-flagged general cargo ship Thor Gitta may have led to fatigue that contributed to the death of a Filipino AB even though the vessel complied with the International Labour Organization’s Convention 180, ILO 180, which deals with seafarers’ hours of work and manning of ships says Australia’s Transport Safety Board. Denmark’s Maritime Authority, which recently released its own report, does not accept the conclusion.
On 21 May, 2009, an AB died in a fall from a ladder after being injured by an inadequately secured lashing bin in heavy weather. ATSB believes that the AB’s hold on the ladder was weakened by injuries caused by the incident with the lashing bin.
Using fatigue assessment software, FAID, on the seafarer’s work routine, 6 on 6 off, ATSB noted a score of 111 on the morning prior to the accident: “This score is considered to be in the very high range (of fatigue)”.
Says ATSB: “Article 5 of ILO 180 prescribes the maximum hours per day that a crew member, regardless of duties and not including emergency situations, is permitted to work… This convention was ratified by Denmark in 2003 and the Danish Maritime Authority has chosen to use the option provided for in Article 3 to regulate11 seafarers’ hours of rest in a 24 hour period and a 7 day period (1(b) above). In doing
so, the Authority permits seafarers to work up to 91 hours in any 7 day period.
“However, the effect that a 6 hours on/6 hours off roster has on a crew member’s level of fatigue has been considered at length in a number of studies undertaken since the STCW and ILO requirements were introduced. These include several conducted by the Cardiff University, the United Kingdom’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, the International Transport Workers Federation and the University of Wellington for
Maritime New Zealand… It is reasonable to say that all these reports comment on the inability of this type of roster to effectively manage the fatigue levels of those working the roster, and that other systems of rosters (such as the 4 hours on/8 hours off)
should be considered… Both the 6 hours on/6 hours off work routine for watchkeepers and the modified work routine for deck ratings used on board Thor Gitta, while
complying with the ILO 180 and STCW requirements for rest, probably resulted in a
cumulative level of fatigue in the crew.”
DMA, however, has dismissed the ATSB findings “only as normative and not as given
It is the opinion of the Danish Maritime Authority that the 6 hours on/off work routine for watchkeepers and the modified routine for deck ratings on board Thor Gitta does not constitute a problem as long as the hours of rest are in compliance with the Order, ILO Convention 180 and part A, Chapter VIII of the STCW code for crewmembers engaged in watchkeeping.
”The Danish Maritime Authority disagrees with the statements indicating that the roster of the AB and the work routine for watchkeepers probably results in a cumulative level of fatigue in the crew.”