Fatigue at sea

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JK
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Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:53 am

I've been land bound for 20 years now. I sailed in well crewed ships,with 4/8 schedule most of my career at sea, with some 6/6 and a bit of 7/5.
The trips average a minimum of 14 day cycle to about 120-130 days. The 14 day cycle was hellish because of the ship.
The nature of the work at sea is exhausting at the best of times. You are continually balancing against the roll of the ship and constant vibrations keep your muscles firing.
Today we have minimum manning, which reduces seafarers to slave labour.

For anyone that has 30-40 years at sea, you must see the changes? Can you comment, I'm curious to know your opinion on how things have changed.

I met Kuba last week in London. I think Intermanager has a good spokesperson in him.

http://splash247.com/intermanager-warns ... r-fatigue/

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby pac22ken » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:14 am

My first ship in 1966 - a 96,000 DWT tanker - had a crew of 44 . Today a ship 2x the size would
probably have a crew of 24 or maybe less. During my last decade at sea was on some vessels,
20 - 30 years old that when new had more crew. Reduced from 3 Engineers to 2 , 2 to 1 or
took off a M/M . Then considering how much less time in port today . On general cargo ships
with derricks and cargo on pallets often in port for a week or more. Many good memories but
from latter years do recall how great the fatique was at times. Also how companies seem to
treat their crews ... like human robots till you can be replaced by the real ones .

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby pac22ken » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:51 pm

http://www.professionalmariner.com/September-2014/Greater-workload-means-ships-need-more-crew/
A double whammy on one job .... the M/A and Cook were gone ... crawl out of the bilges , go up
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Big Pete
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby Big Pete » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:15 am

I have seen some of that over the last 45 years. From typically 2 months in Port to load, a month at sea and then 2 months to discharge, to Port turn arounds of less than a day to do all the maintenance on the propulsion systems, with only a fraction of the crew.
In some cases you can argue that newer ships have more reliable machinery with longer service intervals, but even 30 year old ships are sailing around with half the crew they had when new, while clocking up more running hours at Sea with less time in Port to do the work.

I sailed with one Coastal Tanker company that used to do a full overhaul of the main engines at every special survey/ 5 yearly dry docking and couldn't understand why all the pistons were seizing on the engine before they reached that time. I did some research and found that when the company set up the 5 year overhaul cycle, the ships only worked cargo between 8 and 5 Monday to friday and usually spent every weekend tied up alongside. Over the years, the Ports had moved to 24/7 working and the ships were carrying 3 times as many cargoes a year, steaming 3 times the distance and were now rarely in Port more than 12 hours at a time. As a result, the engines were reaching the running hours for a major overhaul after about 2 years and pistons were seizing at over double the makers running hours for a piston overhaul. (Caused by piston rings gumming up in the grooves, causing blow past which destroyed the Lube oil film on the liner).
Similar things happened on a car carrier company I worked for, they only carried 2 Engineers and a Motorman on each ship, and they could keep up with the maintenance and have reasonable rest when the Ports only worked daytime on weekday.
Once all the Ports worked 24/7 the number of voyages per year shot up, but one ship I was on did 5 Ports a week on a liner service, each Port having between a 4 and 6 hour standby in and out, and less than 12 hours alongside. Figure out how 2 Engineers can do all the standbys, day work at Sea, answer alarms and do evening Rounds, and stay within the hours of rest/ work regulations? Even without pulling main engine units in Port and overhauling generators at sea.
The company gave us hire cars to get home, the cheapest way to travel, and I fell asleep at the wheel once and totalled a car, fortunately I got away without a scratch, but I am sure a lot of people must have had similar experiences, day work all day in bad weather alarms all night standby early in the morning, clean your cabin (mo Stewards any more) handover at midday and get in a car and drive for 4 hours...... recipe for disaster.

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:11 am

We sailed out of Montreal to Sept Isles short an engineer and a new watch keeper. I did my watch, then went down an hour early to work with the new fellow. He quit at next port and we were down 2 engineers. The cadet was put on the day watch with the 2nd then stood the watch alone. It was probably the worst trip I've made. When the relief engineers came onboard in France, I could have kissed the surly little 3rd on his bald head , I was so happy to see him.

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby D Winsor » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:23 am

When I went on the Lakes in the late 80's the average Motor gearless bulk carrier had the following compliment
1 Captain, 3 Mates, 3 AB's, 6 OS's, Chief Engineer, 3 Engineers, 3 Oilers/ MA's, Electrician, and 4 Galley staff for a total of 25 plus the steamers also carried 3 fireman. Self Unloaders around the same time, depending on the configuration of the conveyor system fitted to the ship also carried either 3 or 4 Cargo Maintenance crew or Tunnelmen for a total of 29.

At the time the average Bulker would carry 20 to 40 cargoes in a 9 month season with an average port time loading or unloading of a day to 2 days. The average larger self-unloader depending on the trade could make between 70 and 80 trips a season while the smaller Self Unloader would regularly make over 100 trips loading or discharging in over 250 ports in a season with as little as 2 to 3 hours in a port. I personally worked on the smaller self unloaders or what is called the 650 Trade for almost 12 years and it wasn't uncommon, as crews shrank, for some crew members to go for a month or longer and not leave, or be even able to leave the ship. Even back then everyone would look forward to going to a port where the loading process was a little slower so we could get enough time to maintenance or even get ashore.

Since then, while the pattern of trade hasn't changed, newest of the 1980's fleet now 35 years old with the fleet average being 46 years old and some automation of cargo handling and ballast systems has being added to compensate for the loss of crew, fatigue has become an even bigger problem. Something has to give, when management expects, with aging crews (average age 52+), who are contractually obliged to work on average 90 days, that have been cut back to as low as 18 and 19 on the older Bulkers and Self Unloaders and even fewer on the new ships, the same level of operational and maintenance efficiency and performance out of the vessels.

All in all makes me glad I'm "Out of It"
Last edited by D Winsor on Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JK
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:35 am

yes. I keep pointing out that our present ships were built for a crew of 30-35 with a 4/8 shift. 3 watchkeepers on bridge and in ER, 3 oilers/QMs on watch. 1-2 dayworking oilers with a PO and 4-6 on deck and the pursers staff.
Going 12 hour days with half the crew does not mean the same amount of work is being done. It is virtually impossible to do engine maintenance at sea by yourself on watch. It is the same for outdoor maintenance. The ship was designed for a larger crew and that was an unchanged fact no one took consideration of.
No wonder management doesn't like me. I've been around long enough to see the changes and some of the implications.

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby D Winsor » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:10 am

It's also interesting I heard on the news last evening that even the Navy is looking at studying the operational effect of reducing crew sizes and guess what department they want to cut first "Engineering"
Troubleshooting 101 "Don't over think it - K.I.S.S. it"

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JK
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:08 am

They not only reduced crew sizes but increased the cycles to 6 weeks in the Arctic with those monster multi-engine enginerooms. So happy I was not there.

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JollyJack » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:28 am

According to minimum manning regulations, an engine room rating (oiler, or whatever you want to call it) is only required if the machinery is not controlled from the bridge or does not have a supply of fuel and lub oil for 24 hours. So, if it's bridge control, the oil sump is full, and the day tank contains enough fuel for 24 hours, an oiler is not required.

Maximum number of Engineers required is a person in charge of machinery and, if the ship does not have UMS status, an Engine Room Watchkeeper.

That's it.

Fatigue is a killer. At one time, I did a report on crew fatigue on small fishing vessels. The TSB pages are peppered with instances of death and injury caused by crew fatigue. You have to remember that "minimum manning" means sufficient crew to navigate a vessel on a voyage from A to B, it does NOT allow sufficient crew to operate and maintain the vessel. So, a tanker must have additional crew to pump cargo, load and unload, a bulker to operate, load and unload etc. If you want any maintenance done, there must be a maintenance crew for chipping, painting, overhauling machinery etc.

Unfortunately, ship owners look at it as a way to cut crews. Remember that seafarers are, always have been and always will be disposable.
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby thenorwegian » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:47 am

Close to 27 years at sea, tankers almost all the way. First 10 years ULCC and then Suezmax. Love my job (probably something that should be diagnosed and treated..) but seriously looking for something ashore.
The trade I am currently in used to be really high quality in all aspects; all parties involved made good money, safety and maintenance was way ahead of any other part of shipping. In comes a certain large tanker company and promises to change "the game". And they really have..

My biggest concern at present is an enormous pressure from shore management, who now are made up almost entirely of hip and cool people with fancy degrees and diplomas-the old style superintendent has long ago left the building, to produce senior engineers. We have a steady stream of Asian (all Europeans are either sacked or been smart enough to get out of the way of progress..) 3rd engineers coming with a 6-page "training booklet", all of them has been told that once the booklet is filled in you are ready for senior position.
The fact that many of this boys does not have any clue of anything but very basic engineering is of no interest to the owners; if one tries to voice any concerns in this matter one is immediately marked as a troublemaker.
Off course some of our chiefs give up and signs and stamps this booklets and voila-a new 2nd engineers has arisen. Some of them have been given-I kid you not-12 months on-board with an experienced 2nd as assistant/mentor.
Same thing going on the bridge (lets face it, we now have bridge officers, they do not go on deck-they are on the bridge, looking at screens and preparing mountains of very important papers like musterlists and phonenumberlists with names-very important in case on should forget that Joe, the chief cook, lives in the chief cooks cabin and is to the tasks assigned to chief cook on the musterlist when the alarm sounds..
You can not understand the fun involved when this highly trained (must be-they have completed the bloody training booklet..) kids actually has to do something for real... Like preparing vessel for tank inspections or pulling a cylinder liner. Or Good help them, this fancy computers fail...

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JK
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:05 pm

Great post. One of my friends is still at sea as CE. He was telling me that there is hardly any troubleshooting abilities in his newer engineers. He is in his coveralls 12 hours a day. A far cry from the CE in his slippers and knowing only where the ER door is.
I fear that if you had an old time Super, he'd hurt someone's feeling sorting them out, then HR would be involved and a group hug follow. Hahaha, can you imagine! I can just see some of the fellows I dealt with having an Intervention moderated by a very earnest 20-something youngster.

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby D Winsor » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:28 am

JK wrote:Great post. One of my friends is still at sea as CE. He was telling me that there is hardly any troubleshooting abilities in his newer engineers. He is in his coveralls 12 hours a day. A far cry from the CE in his slippers and knowing only where the ER door is.
I fear that if you had an old time Super, he'd hurt someone's feeling sorting them out, then HR would be involved and a group hug follow. Hahaha, can you imagine! I can just see some of the fellows I dealt with having an Intervention moderated by a very earnest 20-something youngster.


You're right and when you add an over protective, over bearing or "Helicopter Parent" into the mix. Things turn into a real "Horror Story" for H/R Captains and Chiefs with sometimes hilarious or disastrous results and the young person disappearing "Never to be heard from again"

Over the years I've had my share of Control room "Seat Warmers" and a few that thought everything was done on a computer. On one particular occasion I got a newly minted 4th Engineer on a 45 year old ship with manually closed breakers who had no idea on how to manually parallel 2 A/C Generators. When asked why he didn't know how to this, he said that he was trained to work on modern "Computer" controlled ships not "Ancient" Ships! Not the best way to make a first impression with the Chief :x

I got off shortly after and my relief told me he didn't last much longer. One thing for sure he did know how to manually parallel generators before he left the ship
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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby JK » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:41 am

No, please tell me that parents aren't calling about cadets or fourths?

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Re: Fatigue at sea

Postby D Winsor » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:38 am

Oh Yes they are!
A few years ago the group of Captains & Chief's from a former employer attended a seminar by a Marine School representative on "Helicopter Parents" and "Technology Addicted Students".
He related the story of a Mother threatening the school for sending her son to a ship that didn't provide a private steward to make "Her son's bed". Plus she thought she should be able to travel on the ship with her son so she could "Look after him" because she always did it and her son was an "Officer" and Officers did no "Do" such things.
While other parents wanted to review the quality of the food being prepared to make sure it didn't upset their child's "Delicate Palate"
He also related stories about students who quit because they had to get up at certain times, couldn't use their cell phones or update their "Facebook" status when ever they wanted.
Troubleshooting 101 "Don't over think it - K.I.S.S. it"


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