Knowledge is power and new ITF web tool aims to give seafarers that power
A new web tool will help seafarers looking for jobs through the maze of slippery manning agents and cunning scammers.
ITFShipBeSure.org launches today to give those looking for work on cargo or cruise ships the kind of insight they need to negotiate sound contracts and avoid the perils of shady manning agents.
It features a directory of manning agents that have been rated by the ITF as either green (good to go) or red (best avoided). The site initially covers four countries that are major crew suppliers but will be expanded and eventually include much of the world. The launch countries are India, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.
“Every year, hundreds of seafarers are scammed or defrauded by manning agents,” said Steve Trowsdale, the ITF Inspectorate Coordinator. “Our inspectors have long experience in identifying the illegal practices of dubious agents. We wanted to pass on that knowledge so seafarers can find good, reliable work.”
Trowsdale hopes the web tool will stamp out fake, rogue and non-compliant agents.
The site helps seafarers understand what good manning agents can do for them. And what bad agents may try. It details what they should expect in a contract and how they can make sure they’re getting a fare deal. It also includes links to the employment pages of cruise ship operators.
“Scams to trick job seekers out of money or to steal their documentation are proliferating,” said Trowsdale. “ITFShipBeSure also includes a guide to spot these scams and a regularly updated section that highlights the scams we know about. The golden rule is: if a job looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.”
Some scams look highly professional and it's all too easy to fall into their trap. But ShipBeSure includes a Look Up section where seafarers can search on ships or find contact details for their nearest union rep or ITF inspector.
“Knowing as much as possible is the best way to protect yourself: about a ship you plan to work on, the recruitment process, and the terms and conditions,” said Trowsdale. “That knowledge is what we aim to provide with ShipBeSure.”