P&O Maritime Tests Wearable Device to Monitor Mariners' Fatigue

The SmartCap headband was originally designed for mining operators (above), and it is compatible with a wide range of headgear (SmartCap)

Published Oct 4, 2021 1:24 AM by The Maritime Executive

OSV operator P&O Maritime Logistics is taking a personnel-monitoring technology developed for truckers and heavy equipment operators to the sea. In order to give its mariners advance warning about their fatigue levels, P&O has contracted with SmartCap, the maker of the LifeBand EEG headband and fatigue sensing system. 

SmartCap's wearable band fits into any hat or hardhat, and it uses standard brainwave measurement technology to figure out when the wearer is feeling tired. Using Bluetooth, it sends its measurements to an app on an Android device, and the app alerts the wearer if they start showing signs of fatigue. 

SmartCap says that the key to its technology is in sending private early warning alerts to the wearer before escalating a fatigue alert to management. By keeping the first alert private, SmartCap gives the worker (or mariner) an opportunity to fix their fatigue early. 

SmartCap is an Australian firm owned by Hitachi Construction Machinery, and it originally developed its product for the mining industry. According to the firm, companies that have used SmartCap as part of their safety procedures have reported a decline in fatigue-related incidents. This is among the firm's first ventures into the maritime world. 

After testing the technology on a group of employees based at Jebel Ali, P&O Maritime says that it will review the system's performance and consider ways to roll it out to the rest of its fleet. 

"As P&O Maritime Logistics is a tech-driven business, the SmartCap system is an exciting way we can look to introduce innovative solutions that help in our efforts to continuously boost our high safety standards. With technology such as SmartCap, it also gives us a high-level view of our safety program and will help us track fatigue across our crews," said Martin Helweg, CEO of P&O Maritime Logistics.