Research into Effects on Cognitive Performance of Maritime Watch-keepers under Different Watch Patterns, Workloads & Conditions, with Reality Usage of Ships Bridge, Engine & Cargo Control Simulators

Project HORIZON is defining and undertaking scientific methods for measurement of fatigue, in various realistic seagoing scenarios, using bridge, engine-room and cargo simulators. The project is assessing the impact of fatigue on decision-making performance and determining optimal settings for minimising those risks to both ship and seafarer.

Two simulator-equipped institutes are collaborating to ensure that enough runs of sufficient duration are undertaken, to replicate ship-board conditions of operation, with real-life scenarios of voyage, workload and incidents. Specialist input from a stress research institute, skilled in transport operations research, is setting the requirements for fatigue measurement and determining performance degradation of watch-keepers.
Results will be analysed and recommendations made for application by interested parties, including ship owners, maritime regulators and those setting requirements for manning and operation of ships. The output will be a Management Toolkit with software and guidance notes. Involvement of a classification society, seafarer officers union and six stakeholder partners provide expert objectivity of the project and its results, as well as widening routes for dissemination and exploitation.

HORIZON addresses concerns over the increasing losses (human, financial and environmental) of maritime accidents which frequently cite fatigue as a contributory cause and thereby resonates with the objectives and impacts of the work programme. This is a major issue at a time when the high demand for shipping capacity has led to shortages of well-qualified and experienced seafarers. 

The project surpasses subjective fatigue studies, highlighting the problem, and will produce validated, statistically robust results for use in decision making, using the toolkit of results and findings. HORIZON thereby impacts on the FP7 aims of increased safety and security, reduced fatalities, with a methodology for reducing human error.

HORIZON has defined a set of specific objectives: 
 To provide a realistic, high fidelity, voyage scenario in which watch-keeper cognitive performance can be measured.
 To provide various watch-keeping patterns which will lead to fatigue in the watch-keeping officers;
 To capture empirical data on the cognitive performance of the watch-keepers undertaking these watch-keeping patterns;
 To analyse this empirical data to determine the effect of fatigue on the cognitive performance of the watch-keepers;
 To develop a fatigue management toolkit for use by ship managers, maritime regulators, flag states, port states and the International Maritime Organisation;
 To derive a set of recommendations that maritime regulators and ship managers can use to improve the safety and reliability of vessels.

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