Misunderstanding each other's intentions is one of the most common causes of shipping accidents. By sending out a number of waypoints ahead and displaying them on the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) a ship's intentions would be clearly visible for other ships. Displaying ships' intentions would be a major change compared to navigation today. It could be very beneficial but it could also have unintended consequences. This paper reports on findings from an evaluation looking for unintended consequences of change using system simulation. During the simulation an unanticipated behavior was observed. Bridge crews started to click and drag waypoints too negotiate crossing situations ahead of time. The behavior could be compared to agreeing over the VHF. However further research is needed to evaluate this new behavior and how it aligns to COLREGS.
Today many merchant ships sail with only two nautical officers, working a shift schedule of 6 hr on and 6 hr off. There are concerns that such a shift schedule is related to fatigue. However, little data exist from onboard studies of seafarers.
Data were collected on board 13 ships. Fifteen participants worked on a 6-on, 6-off watch system and another 15 on a 4-on, 8-off watch system. Electrooculography, actigraphy, diaries, and reaction time tests were used to measure the effects of shift system on fatigue and sleep.
Sleepiness was higher during the night shift in the 6-on, 6-off system. Moreover, sleepiness increased more during the watch in the 6-on, 6-off system compared to the 4-on, 8-off system. There was a trend toward shorter sleep episodes in the 6-on, 6-off system and sleep was more often split into two episodes.
The specific problems associated with the work on board within the merchant fleet are well known and have over the years been a topic of discussion. The work conditions in the engine room (ER) are demanding due to, e.g. the thermal climate, noise and awkward working postures. The work in the engine control room (ECR) has over recent years undergone major changes, mainly due to the introduction of computers on board. In order to capture the impact these changes had implied, and also to investigate how the work situation has developed, a total of 20 engine officers and engine ratings were interviewed. The interviews were semi-structured and Grounded Theory was used for the data analysis. The aim of the present study was to describe how the engine crew perceive their work situation and working environment on board. Further, the aim was to identify areas for improvements which the engine crew consider especially important for a safe and effective work environment. The result of the study shows that the design of the ECR and ER is crucial for how different tasks are performed. Design which does not support operational procedures and how tasks are performed risk inducing inappropriate behaviour as the crew members' are compelled to find alternative ways to perform their tasks in order to get the job done. These types of behaviour can induce an increased risk of exposure to hazardous substances and the engine crew members becoming injured.