Project HORIZON is a major multi-partner European research study that brought together 11 academic institutions and shipping industry organisations with the agreed aim of delivering empirical data to provide a better understanding of the way in which watchkeeping patterns can affect the sleepiness levels of ships’ watchkeepers. A total of 90 experienced deck and engineer officer volunteers participated in rigorous tests. At the heart of the project was the extensive use of ship simulators, engine rooms and cargo simulators.
The first stage of project Horizon is finished. Successful experiments have been carried out on seafarers at the department of Shipping and Technology, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.
This is the largest simulator run ever carried out at the department. The project made extensive use of bridge, engine and liquid cargo handling simulators to produce real-time, realistic scenarios in which the impact of fatigue on decision-making and performance could be assessed. The seafarers’ performances were measured by researchers, who used a variety of scientific methods to measure the fatigue levels experienced by the officers and any resulting degradation in performance during a wide range of regular onboard operating conditions.
During the experiments, the seafarers, who came from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Russia, England and Scotland, stayed at a ship. The first group, 30 persons, worked in three guard shifts, which means four hours of work and eight hours of sleep. The second group (20 persons) worked for six hours and slept for six hours. The experiments were carried out for one month, and each person stayed for one week.
The purpose of this project is to study the effects of fatigue on the cognitive performance of maritime watch-keepers under different watch patterns. The project aims to tackle the problems posed by seafarer fatigue and seeks to improve safety at sea by developing a fatigue management toolkit for the industry, as well as recommendations for improving work patterns at sea.
Merchant Marine Officers' Association - Sjöbefälsförbundet
The Swedish Ship Officers' Association - Sveriges Fartygsbefälsförening