GAO Report Reveals Lack of Sufficient Sleep In Seafarers Increases Chances of Ship Collisions

Per a report from the General Accounting Office, the Congress’s investigative arm, the Navy has failed to eliminate sleep deprivation issues that have been linked to deadly and costly incidents on American warships.

US Navy
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The authors of the report suggest that surface personnel get only 5.25 hours of sleep per day, which raises worries about the hundreds of Pacific fleet ships based in San Diego. They’re expected to receive 7.5 hours of sleep. The data was received from the Navy.

The GAO highlighted that it previously documented that the Navy was not assigning adequate crew members to some ships, requiring some sailors to put in longer hours. This year, the problem was discovered to be still present.

Personnel shortages may continue to be a major cause of insufficient rest and sailor tiredness, according to the GAO, which applauded the Navy for treating the issue seriously.

In 2017, two Navy destroyers got caught in separate collisions with commercial vessels, killing 17 servicemen. The GAO report noted the occurrences.

The auditors mentioned the Navy’s Pacific fleet, which is led by San Diego and is home to more than 50 surface battleships, including three aircraft carriers. There has been no mention of any local ships.

Sailor readiness and wellness remain high priorities, and efforts are being made to swiftly deal with sailor fatigue issues through a number of tactics ranging from force manning to technological tools, which regulate crew rest and enhance human performance, explained Commander Arlo Abrahamson, the spokesperson associated with the Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet.

The surface force comprises an average of 322 sailors on each surface vessel as of October 2023. In 2017, the average count of sailors per surface vessel was 308.

To put it in context, the Surface Force has added 14 additional Sailors per surface vessel since the summer of 2017.

Reference: sandiegouniontribune

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