When the ship navigator (deck officer of the watch) is stressed, attention is narrowed and the normal flow of activities as well as action alternatives to be performed can be missed, ignored or discounted. Thus, the amount of time required integrating accessible information (i.e. displays, communication equipment, presence of hazards, etc.) and cope with the situation (course keeping or track changing) can be overestimated leading to poor or unsuccessful performance that may contribute to an accident. In order to understand how the navigator’s situational assessment can be improved, a probabilistic model is proposed consisting of three cognitive processes: information pre-processing, decision making and action implementation. This model can be evaluated by analyzing actual data derived from publicly available accident investigation reports concerning collisions and groundings. With this approach, it is possible to determine the minimum required time for navigation task execution so that erroneous behavior can be prevented from developing and materializing into an accident.

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