A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew conducts an overflight of the grounded fishing vessel Savannah Ray after reports of a diesel sheen near Kodiak Island, Alaska, March 5, 2015. The Savannah Ray initially ran aground Feb. 16, 2015, with four people aboard who were rescued by an aircrew from Air Station Kodiak. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Crew fatigue contributing to commercial fishing vessel groundings

In light of recent groundings in the State of Alaska involving uninspected commercial fishing vessels, owners/operators are reminded to be cognizant of crew fatigue while on watch. Since July 14, 2015 there have been 16 reported commercial fishing vessel groundings across Alaska’s waterways and preliminary investigations have concluded that at least five of the groundings were the result of crew fatigue. During the course of several investigations, masters and crew members admitted to Coast Guard Marine Investigators that they fell asleep at the helm after working long hours for several days.

Maritime operations can open crewmembers up to challenges that compromise their alertness and performance. Exposure to 24/7 fishing vessel operations and restricted sleep opportunities can result in frequent sleep disruptions, increasing contact with fatigue and effective situational awareness. These risk factors can have a negative impact on productivity and crew safety.