ASA offers response to fatigue issue

Sabrina Chao
Hong Kong Shipowners Association chairman Sabrina Chao has been elected president of ASA

The Asian Shipowners’ Association has called for stricter implementation of STCW and MLC 2006 in regard to the work/rest hour provisions for seafarers.

In a press release issued after the conclusion of ASA’s 26th Annual General Meeting, the chairman of the ASA Seafarers Committee, Fu Xiangyang said that fatigue is of major concern, and compliance with the provisions of STCW and MLC 2006 is an important step toward alleviating fatigue.

In what might be construed as a reference to the on-going debate over the virtues and drawbacks of allowing seafarers full access to wi-fi internet, Mr Xiangyang added: “It is also important to impress on seafarers that rest is essential, and that other distractions should be kept to a minimum during rest periods so as to combat fatigue.”

The issue of seafarers’ fatigue came to prominence in January this year following the publication of Project MARTHA, a fatigue study commissioned by the shipmanagement association InterManager and the Warsash Maritime Academy.

The study found that there were growing levels of fatigue, particularly among Masters and Watch Keepers. It further noted that motivation was a major factor in fatigue experienced by seafarers.

When examining evidence of fatigue from a cultural perspective the study found that European seafarers worked fewer hours than their Chinese counterparts. Chinese seafarers on dry bulk carriers worked an average 15.11 hours a day compared to European seafarers who worked an average 10.23 hours a day, the study said. Unsurprisingly, the study found evidence of higher levels of fatigue and stress in Chinese seafarers rather than European seafarers.

ASA concluded its release with news of changes at the top of the organization. Sabrina Chao, as chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, was elected as the 27th Asian Shipowners’ Association president. Lisa Teo, as chairman of Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Association, was elected as the Vice-President of ASA.

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