Cognitive aspects of the captain's work in a critical situation

Torkil Clemmensen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    It has been suggested that the captain of a merchant ship requires decision support in the initial phase of an emergency until help from shore or nearby ships is available. Theories of human error and human factors knowledge claims that requirements to support can be modelled as a number of error prone cognitive mechanisms on different organisational levels. This paper presents Human Factors studies, conducted as part of the requirements definition to a decision support system for officers on the bridge of a ship in a critical situation, such as damage to the hull or fire on board. The studies addressed on which organisational levels captains required support in case of an emergency. The first study was a straightforward observational study of a fire control situation on board a simulated cargo ship, showing that in the initial phase of an emergency the captain's cognition has to do with the people on board, not the structure of the ship. The second study widened the organisational scope, and was a qualitative analysis of a few minutes of a protocol from a simulated critical situation. It came out strongly from the studies that the captain's decisions on any organisational level are embedded in structures for communication on and off board. The discussion focus on implications for a prototype of a computer based emergency management system, and for simulator training of ship officers working on the bridge in case of damage to the hull of the ship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMarine Simulation and Ship Manoeuvrability
    Place of PublicationRotterdam
    PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
    Publication date1996
    Publication statusPublished - 1996
    EventMarine Simulation and Ship Manoeuvrability (MARSIM'96) - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 1 Jan 1996 → …


    ConferenceMarine Simulation and Ship Manoeuvrability (MARSIM'96)
    CityCopenhagen, Denmark
    Period01/01/1996 → …

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