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About the Inspectorate

About the ITF Inspectorate

The first ITF inspector was appointed in 1971 and today there is a network of more than 125 Inspectors, based in over 110 ports in 55 countries worldwide.

ITF Inspectors are union officials who are engaged full time working on the objectives and issues relating to the ITF Flags of Convenience (FOC) Campaign.

Many ITF Inspectors are former seafarers or dock workers. Their job is to inspect ships calling in their ports, to ensure the seafarers have decent pay, working conditions and living conditions, and to police ITF agreements on board to ensure compliance.

Each year they conduct more than 10,000 inspections as a routine procedure or at the request of the crew.  All ITF Inspectors speak English as well as their own native language and - in some cases - other languages.

What an ITF inspector can do

An ITF Inspector CAN

  • Inspect a ship for problems relating to employment and living conditions.
  • Meet with crewmembers ashore.
  • Provide advice and assistance to seafarers.
  • Advise what the legal possibilities are for resolving a particular problem in that port/country.
  • Act as a representative for the crew (power of attorney) in contractual disputes.
  • Liaise with the Port State Control on safety matters.
  • Connect a seafarer with an ITF affiliated union, where present, in their home country.
  • Raise shipboard problems with the shipowner.
  • Apply pressure on a shipowner to resolve shipboard problems.
  • Facilitate the signing of ITF approved collective bargaining agreements.
  • Legally board a vessel with an ITF agreement to carry out an inspection.
  • Contact other ITF Inspectors, ITF affiliated unions and contacts in other countries.
  • Calculate owed wages and handle backpay claims.
  • Speak good English.
  • Deal with matters confidentially, as far as possible.
  • Be contacted by phone, mobile, email or instant messaging
  • Liaise with third parties, such as flag state authorities, welfare agencies, embassies etc in handling seafarers’ disputes.
  • Provide support to seafarers who find themselves hospitalised.
  • Provide copies of ITF publications.

An ITF Inspector CANNOT

  • Do more than their national legislation allows.
  • Always gain access to a ship or terminal.
  • Solve problems without the cooperation of the crew.
  • Guarantee that a seafarer will not lose their job or be blacklisted.
  • Get a seafarer a job on a ship.
  • Change ITF policy.
  • Act outside of the policy of the ITF or local ITF affiliated unions.
  • Act against the interests of the national union that employs them.
  • Act unlawfully.

To contact an ITF Inspector click on Look Up or alternatively you can download the free ITF Seafarers app that is available on the Google Play and Apple stores