Millions of vehicles produced each year are transported by purpose-built car carrying ships that can be turned around quickly. Research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council confirms that as a consequence of technical, infrastructure and production changes in the industry, crew members have experienced a decline in work/life balance. Shore leave for many may amount to having time for a telephone call home at the port of destination only - before needing to set sail again.
The project, conducted by Professor Theo Nichols and Doctor Erol Kahveci, School of Social Sciences, University of Cardiff, focused on the maritime chain between the manufacturer and the consumer. It examined recent changes in the car carrying industry and the implications for operations and crew members.
“Today, car carriers can take about 7,000 cars at a time on up to 13 decks. These giant vessels, that are usually ‘flagged out’, tower out of the water and have roll on, roll off handling systems that really speed things up,” said Professor Theo Nichols. “Large capacity, quick turnaround and low manning levels may help keep costs down for the operators, but the fast pace has led to a decline in seafarers’ lives. Crew members, many of whom come from low wage countries, face fatigue, social isolation, long periods at sea and very little free time on shore.”
Becky Gammon | alfa
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