There have been many examples of shipping accidents linked to sleepiness – including the tanker Exxon Valdez grounding in 1989, the Herald of Free Enterprise capsize in 1987 and the grounding of the bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 in the Great Barrier Reef in 2010.
Nautilus believes that seafarer fatigue is one of the biggest issues threatening health and safety in the shipping industry.
The Union continues to highlight extensive evidence of accidents caused by sleepiness and is campaigning for more effective regulations to prevent excessive working hours.
Shipping is a 24/7 industry, working across borders and time zones, and often running to strict schedules. But the increasingly intensive nature of shipping operations means that seafarers often have to work long and irregular hours, with factors such as noise, vibration, port calls and bad weather making it hard to get sufficient quantity and quality of sleep.