Six on, six off "As close to slavery as we have..."

[B]I happen to agree 100%. It is time for this two watch system insanity to END.[/B]

[B]From the “Daily Telegraph”[/B] (the bold italics in the body of the article are mine)

The MAIB report on the grounding of the “Antari” can be found [B]here[/B]

[B]‘Exhausted sailors working 98 hour weeks’ [/B]

             [B]Exhausted sailors working 98 hour weeks are regularly falling asleep at the helm, turning their ships into "unguided missiles" which could cause a major disaster off the UK coast, an independent watchdog warns. [/B]

             
                            
                                                        By Caroline Gammell 
                     Last Updated: 12:02AM GMT 19 Feb 2009

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said it was only a matter of time before a “catastrophic accident” took place in UK waters.
It called on the Government to take immediate action to ensure that ships were properly manned.

In its latest report, the MAIB cited the example of the cargo vessel Antari which ran aground on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland in June last year.
The officer of the watch, who was alone on duty, fell asleep for three hours and was only woken when the 88 metre vessel, carrying 2,360 tons of scrap, had beached itself.
Nearly three quarters of the hull was damaged and dented, while the grounding had punctured the bottom of the ship.
The MAIB discovered that the officer had been working six hours on, six hours off for the previous three and a half months.
He had fallen asleep in the wheelhouse almost as soon as he had taken over the watch shortly after midnight on a warm June 29 in calm seas.

[I][B]Stephen Meyer, chief inspector of the MAIB, said the unrelenting shift patterns were “as close to slavery that we have in the UK”.[/B][/I]
[I][B]He said: "People are working 98 hour weeks, week after week and they do not have a single night’s sleep in that time.[/B][/I]
[I][B]“They never get more than five hours and the cumulative effect is enormous.”[/B][/I]

Mr Meyer said most of the recent accidents where a vessel had gone aground had not cause serious pollution or injury.
"But it is only a matter of time until an unmanned ship travelling three hours across a main shipping channel - like an unguided missile - hits an oil tanker or a passenger ship and we are going to have a catastrophic accident."
The MAIB said recommendations it made five years ago to try and prevent such incidents had been largely ignored.
During that time, it has investigated nine other groundings, where in six of the cases the officer on the watch fell asleep.
Mr Meyer called on the Government to put pressure on the International Maritime Organisation to review the issue of fatigue and manning on board ships as a matter of urgency.
He said the Department of Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency must increase inspections on ships believed to be undermanned to prevent a tragedy in UK waters.
In January 2007, the container ship Napoli grounded off the coast of Devon got into trouble because it was being sailed too fast, was overloaded and had a fundamental design flaw.

[I][B]“They never get more than five hours and the cumulative effect is enormous.”

That’s one thing I DON’T miss about my ship in Hawaii- did over 100 hours every week:o

Unfortunately- I think that tragedy is the only thing likely to produce a change.
[/B][/I]

12 Hours on and 12 Hours off 7 Days a week comes to 84 hours! That is Twice the hours of a regular work week if you have a normal land job. Where is the compansation? Mostly it’s the manning requirments that causes this problem. If the boat I am on was a Coast Guard boat there would be 50 swinging dic’s on here instead of 10. Then everyone could get some sleep.

Joel Milton of the MTVA recently posted an interesting article on this subject, which expands on an article in “Professional Mariner” on the topic of how other countries are dealing with US flagged vessels arriving in their ports while running a two watch system.

I have to say that one advantage to six on six off is for every day you work you get a day and a half sea time. This is great because if you work 8 months out of the year you get 1 year of sea time, key to license advancement or pilotage.

“The U.S. tugboat industry is accustomed to operating domestically with a two-watch system — each watch operating six hours on and six hours off. To combat crew fatigue and improve safety on overseas voyages, the latest International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) memorandum calls for a three-watch system, which is more expensive for the operator.”

Wow- so it’s a SOLAS requirement? That might help…

I don’t have a problem with 6 and 6 I have a problem with one man wheel house
I have said to captains in the past hay if I feel to tired I am waking you up or a deckhand/ab up and we both will do the watch and have never had a captain have a problem with it
On trips over 600 miles uscg says 3 watches even on tugs

[QUOTE=Capt_Anonymous;11846]Joel Milton of the MTVA recently posted an interesting article on this subject, which expands on an article in “Professional Mariner” on the topic of how other countries are dealing with US flagged vessels arriving in their ports while running a two watch system.[/QUOTE]
I noticed in the article that it said in most cases (wheelhouse personnel) must have an ocean endorsement for international voyages.
Question: Does anyone know when a deck officer/watch stander would not require an endorsement?

I worked on several tankers on foreign voyages where we went to 6 and 6’s in port for cargo ops, since we were three mate ships. Working a truly old school tanker for 6 hours in the Levant sun really makes you appreciate modern tech!

How this myth manages to be perpetuated is a mystery to me. The often-quoted, never-substantiated “over 600 miles = 3-watches” rule does not exist, at least for the vast majority of tugs, and the Coast Guard does not say otherwise. What you’re referring to is the requirement for all vessels of over 200 GRT on near coastal or oceans routes, which are thereby subject to the requirements of the Officers Competency Act of 1936, to have a 3-watch system in place on voyages of over 600 nautical miles. There are very few towing vessels that meet that description.

Not me. I vastly preferred being on deck and turning 230+ valves on a late 50’s/early 60’s 2-house tanker to sitting in a windowless control room. Never been in the Levant sun, but I’m sure I’d prefer it to the perpetual 40 degrees, 20 knot wind and rain in Ferndale/Cherry Point.

How about this section of 46 US Code 8104?:confused:
(d) On a merchant vessel of more than 100 gross tons…except a vessel only operating on rivers,… the licensed individuals, sailors, … shall be divided, when at sea, into [B]at least 3 watches[/B], and shall be kept on duty successively to perform ordinary work incident to the operation and management of the vessel… A licensed individual or seaman in the deck or engine department may not be required to work more than 8 hours in one day.(Extraneous stuff replaced by …)

Then it continues:
(g) On a [B]towing [/B]vessel, an offshore supply vessel, or a barge to which this section applies, that is engaged on a voyage of [B]less than 600[/B] miles, the licensed individuals and crewmembers …may be divided, when at sea, into at least [B]2 watches[/B].

So basically all vessels of any reasonable size that operate other than in inland waters must use a 3-watch system except as permitted for tugs & OSVs on a less than 600 mile voyage may use a 2-watch system.

OSV and MSV are also exempt. They go less than the 600 miles for the most part
However, before this line of thought goes too far one must remember that were a 3 watch system be mandated by law on vessels currently exempt there would be a cut in pay for the mariners so be careful what you wish for. 6 on 6 off is a proven killer but there are other ways to address the fatigue problem.

Would love to hear about them. :rolleyes:

RETIREMENT!!!..That cured my fatigue problem.

Mates and asst. engineers would be a start.
Tengineer

[quote=tengineer;17915]Mates and asst. engineers would be a start.
Tengineer[/quote]
The companies reduced the engine room manning with the increase in automation to the point of lunacy. When I brought up the fact that it was impossible to maintain the “36 in 72 hour rule” to operate with reduced manning, (not to mention there were no entry level positions to move up) I was told that I needed to learn to manage my time better.

There is now a worse shortage of qualified engineers, but I have learned to manage my time with a surf rod!

[QUOTE=rwells78;17887]How about this section of 46 US Code 8104?:confused:
(d) On a merchant vessel of more than 100 gross tons…except a vessel only operating on rivers,… the licensed individuals, sailors, … shall be divided, when at sea, into [B]at least 3 watches[/B], and shall be kept on duty successively to perform ordinary work incident to the operation and management of the vessel… A licensed individual or seaman in the deck or engine department may not be required to work more than 8 hours in one day.(Extraneous stuff replaced by …)

Then it continues:
(g) On a [B]towing [/B]vessel, an offshore supply vessel, or a barge to which this section applies, that is engaged on a voyage of [B]less than 600[/B] miles, the licensed individuals and crewmembers …may be divided, when at sea, into at least [B]2 watches[/B].

So basically all vessels of any reasonable size that operate other than in inland waters must use a 3-watch system except as permitted for tugs & OSVs on a less than 600 mile voyage may use a 2-watch system.[/QUOTE]

I never understood that from a practical standpoint. What is the point of a milage limit before a 3 watch system kicks in? Is it because the watch would not have to be maintained very long because the boat isn’t going that far?I would like to get a practical answer on that one even “if” people were not working 1 minute over 12 hours.
Besides that, most oil majors require over COI manning in the OSV sector anyway.

[quote=anchorman;17917]I never understood that from a practical standpoint. What is the point of a milage limit before a 3 watch system kicks in? Is it because the watch would not have to be maintained very long because the boat isn’t going that far?I would like to get a practical answer on that one even “if” people were not working 1 minute over 12 hours.
Besides that, most oil majors require over COI manning in the OSV sector anyway.[/quote]
This all goes back to the down-turn in the oilfield in the mid-80’s when many of us left because 200 ft workboats were reduced to a 5 man crew. Shortly there after was the 333 strike with the flood of strike-breakers heading north. This has been argued ad nauseum. The bottom line is the companies got a reduced manning scale, the CG caved to the companies, the unions were inept, and the mariners cut each others throats. Supply and demand…

The run with the heaviest toll on the wheelhouse I’ve seen was the heating oil run from Corpus Christi to Portland, Me. Even with 2 good mates, the captains didn’t get much sleep towing a 250K bbl barge with 34 ft draft in the winter. Trips varied from 10 to 14 days depending on the weather.