Although the legal and environmental regulations which govern shipping companies are stringent, and although many shipping companies operate with the strictest ethical and moral codes, there are still some concerns relating to human safety, environmental damage and commercial loss within the industry.
As a result, a huge academic study, known as Project Horizon has been developed.
What is it?
Sponsored by the EU, the project is a venture between the Warsah Maritime Academy (an element of Southampton Solent University) and a host of international educational facilities which include Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola AB (Department of Shipping and Marine Technology) from Sweden, the Stress Research Institute of Stockholm University, and a further eight participant companies and authorities.
The reason for the establishment of the project is in answer to a report which was published in the UK in 2004 by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. The report considered the various reasons for collisions by chemical shipping companies, as well as those who carry other types of freight, and concluded that fatigue was the main factor. In addition, these accidents then had a “knock-on effect” of environmental damage and commercial loss.
Therefore the aim of the project is to research the habits of workers within the shipping industry and assess their levels of fatigue, with a view to improving the situation, lowering the number of accidents which occur as a result of fatigue and in the long term, reducing the effects which these accidents have on the larger situation.
As part of the project real life scenarios were investigated and interpreted to give an idea of the typical voyages, workloads and incidents which a typical cargo ship would undergo. Once these scenarios had played out, the results were noted in detail and interpreted.
Additional information was gathered from a stress research institute and it was from this information that the requirements for measuring fatigue and the effects it has on work capability were established.
The results of the various tests were then compiled and evaluated by the various educational institutes.
The aim of the project is to use the data collected to improve the overall situation within shipping for the benefit of all parties. Therefore, the main outcome of the project will be a “management toolkit with software and guidance notes giving shipping companies and their partners the best possible guidance on reducing work based fatigue and improving safety conditions throughout the entire shipping industry.