Crew Mental Health Affects Ship Performance

Monday, August 21, 2006
The 'A' rated 65 million GT North of England P&I club has noted an increase in incidents involving crew members suffering from psychological problems at sea. In the latest issue of its loss-prevention newsletter 'Signals', the club suggests that growing fear of criminalization could now be a contributory factor.

According to North of England's risk-management manager Tony Baker, 'It is not clear what the main causes are, but family pressures and increasing anxiety about criminalization of seafarers are certainly possibilities. The symptoms are on the rise, ranging from mild anxiety attacks and depression to aggressive behaviour to fellow crewmembers and, more tragically, suicide.'

Factors also contributing to the worsening mental health of crewmembers are cited as increasing length of time spent away from home, reduced ability to get relieved from a ship and greater pressure to remain at sea longer and send more funds home.

'In the modern world of shipping, turnaround times in port are also much quicker and shore leave may be restricted by the authorities,' says Baker. 'This creates more work for both officers and crews and less opportunity to relax, resulting in greater fatigue and stress. But whatever the cause, mental illness must be taken extremely seriously, both to protect individual crewmembers but also their colleagues on board.'

North of England points out that true mental illness occurs independently of any physical ailment. Normally a difference in behaviour can be seen, ranging from just slightly unusual to completely abnormal, though the sufferer may not be aware of it.

However, the club says it is very difficult to diagnose mental illness in detail and all that can usually be done at sea is to recognize the condition, handle the situation correctly and deliver the patient into skilled hands at the earliest opportunity.

'Anyone who appears to deeply depressed or who talks of suicide should never be left alone,' warns Baker. 'In practice this can be difficult, but the crewmember should be confined to a cabin and remain their under supervision. The deck is a dangerous place and the ship's side may be a temptation.'

North of England says many crewmembers who are feeling stressed or anxious while at sea have found the Mission to Seafarers to be of great help (www.missiontoseafarers.org). It runs centres in over 100 ports and has representatives in some 200 other ports.


News

NASSCO Christens LNG-ready Tanker Constitution

On Saturday, August 27, shipbuilders at General Dynamics NASSCO celebrated the christening and launch of the Constitution, the sixth ship in a series of eight eco-friendly

GoM Operators Evacuating Ahead of Storm

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Tropical Depression No. 9.   The Bureau of Safety and Environmental

White House Sees a Path to Approval of Pacific Trade Deal

The White House on Monday said it was hopeful it could win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office,

Maritime Safety

GoM Operators Evacuating Ahead of Storm

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Tropical Depression No. 9.   The Bureau of Safety and Environmental

New Offshore Gangway Launched at ONS

The new Barge Master Gangway will be presented at the joint booth of Barge Master and Bosch Rexroth during the international offshore trade exhibition ONS (Offshore Northern Seas) in Stavanger.

Caribbean Fantasy Fire Extinguished

A fire that broke out aboard the passenger vessel Caribbean Fantasy at 7:42 a.m. on August 17 has been extinguished, and the vessel has been moored safely in port.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0894 sec (11 req/sec)