We all feel tired at times and it can affect our ability to do what we need to do in an efficient and safe way and seafarers are no exception.
Seafarers sleep is affected by such as the hours they work and weather. It is not uncommon in bad weather for seafarers to go days without proper rest.
In addition during their 'rest hours' 4 or 6 hours normally in port they have to choose to sleep or doing such as their laundry and going ashore to find Wi-Fi to talk with family say at a seafarers centre. So seafarers suffer from insufficient time for adequate rest and recovery.
A recent IMO (International Maritime Organisation) review of shipping guidelines on preventing seafarer fatigue found that 'sleep debt leads to changes in employees' immune systems, psychological functioning and mental well-being'.Around 40% of the seafarers surveyed said they experienced symptoms of mental ill health, such as depression and anxiety and around 10% said they experienced these symptoms often.
A recent Maritime New Zealand survey found that 61% of commercial fishing crews reported working when overtired and more than 1/3 had fallen asleep on watch.
The IMO review concluded that there needs to be ongoing monitoring of the risk of fatigue and concrete action to assist seafarers such as comfortable accommodation and noise reduction onboard.
The care of seafarers and their families the mandate of the Mission to Seafarers necessities that we as chaplains, volunteers and other supporters give seafarers when we meet them our understanding, that we encourage them to rest, that when they choose to go ashore we assist them which may include transportation and or providing a relaxing place 'a home away from home' to change gear, speak with family.
That we carry in us the peace that Christ brought and gave such comfort to others.