Only if you become a member of a trade union could you avoid many troubles connected with your employment.
Before sailing make sure you a member of an ITF-affiliated trade union and that you are in good standing (i.e. your union card is in order and you are in good standing, with all union dues paid). If you have any doubts or wish to get an advice concerning your future job, contact an ITF inspector or a corresponding trade union (you can get the contacts at https://www.itfseafarers.org/contact_us.cfm
If there are even the slightest doubts about your contract or other conditions, please do not hesitate to contact your union. You should always keep a list of ITF and your union contacts.
When contacting the ITF / your union, especially in relation to a claim or a complaint, please remember to have the following information:
Whenever possible, try to contact an ITF Inspector or a trade union before the vessel arrives into port to enable the Inspector or a trade union officer to be better prepared to assist you. It would help to have copies of related documents to show to the inspector.