GAO finds that some Navy sailors work 100-hour work-weeks

The Government Accountability Office came forth with a report this week that concluded that crew size reductions in recent years have contributed to sailor overwork and safety risks. Now, change is coming.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- It's truly a case of no rest for the weary. But soon, it appears, there will be some rest..

The Navy is now taking steps to reduce crew fatigue, after a report this week showed that some sailors are working 100-hours a week.

This all came to light, as part of the investigation into the deadly USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain collisions.

The Government Accountability Office came forth with a report this week that concluded that crew size reductions in recent years have contributed to sailor overwork and safety risks.

"Under the current criteria they actually expect the sailors to actually work 81 hours. 70 hours on-duty and the eleven hours for the other things," said John Pendleton, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management, GAO. "So it's a pretty grueling schedule programmed in on them. I think what's happened is, this has snuck up on them a little bit over time."

The Navy's top admiral admitted, it's a problem.

"There are measurable degradations in your decision making and in your performance, so we've got to make sure we adjust back," said Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Arizona Senator John McCain demanded action.

"Why not declare a stop to it, a halt to it, right now," he said. "They should not be working a hundred hours a week."

Now, Navy Times reports that surface fleet commanding officers will be required to implement watch schedules and shipboard routines that better sync with circadian rhythms and natural sleep cycles.

The publication says that the goal is to give sailors a more consistent and less erratic sleep schedule, resulting in a more rested and alert crew.

In its report, the GAO found that the Navy "continues to use a workweek standard that does not reflect the actual time sailors spend working and does not account for in-port workload."

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