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Seafarer fatigue is leading to more maritime accidents

There’s been a recent uptick in maritime disasters and accidents — and industry experts are sounding the alarm. They say that the situation could actually get a lot worse.

Safety concerns that have led to worldwide travel restrictions have also kept roughly 300,000 seafarers trapped at work, stuck on expired contracts and essentially working until they drop over from exhaustion.

According to a report by Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI), this is creating a pressure cooker full of stress and toxic working conditions that are leading to injuries and casualties. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) also indicates that ship crews are not able to make the staff changes that are important to prevent chronic fatigue.

Working conditions, for many seafarers, are extremely poor — more so now than ever. Shore leave, which provides a necessary break from the chaos and close conditions on a vessel, is virtually nonexistent right now.

The ability of seafarers to obtain onshore medical treatment when they need it is also sharply curtailed.” Seafarers cannot remain at sea indefinitely,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lin.

When a crew gets exhausted, they can’t maintain the same level of safety that a fresh crew can manage. That sort of exhaustion may have contributed to disasters like the deaths of 40 crew members when their ship capsized in bad weather and other tragic events.

If you’re a seafarer or who is injured on a ship or you’re the loved one of someone who was involved in a fatal boating accident, find out more about the possibility of compensation under maritime law.

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