The ITF has a network of around 150 Inspectors, based in ports all over the world. ITF Inspectors are union officials who are either full time or part time working on issues concerning the ITF 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 on board. They conduct routine inspections and also visit ships on request of the crew. If necessary they assist with actions to protect seafarers' rights as permitted by law.
All ITF Inspectors speak English as well as their own native language and – in some cases – other languages.
The contact details of any ITF Inspector in the world may be found here.
What an ITF Inspector can/can’t 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;
- Liaise with the Port State Control on safety matters;
- Provide advice and support to seafarers on strike;
- 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;
- Recommend a lawyer, in cases where the crew wish to take legal action;
- Put a seafarer in touch with an ITF affiliated union in their home country;
- Raise shipboard problems with the shipowner;
- Put pressure on a shipowner to resolve shipboard problems;
- Legally board a vessel with an ITF agreement to carry out an inspection;
- Contact ITF Inspectors, unions and contacts in other countries;
- Calculate owed wages and handle backpay claims;
- Speak good English;
- Put a seafarer in touch with someone who speaks their native language;
- Put a seafarer in touch with a minister of their own faith;
- Deal with matters confidentially, as far as possible;
- Provide copies of ITF publications;
- Be contacted by phone, mobile, email, fax or mail;
- Facilitate the signing of ITF approved collective bargaining agreements;
- Liaise with third parties, such as embassies, flag state authorities or welfare agencies, in handling seafarers’ disputes;
- Can provide emotional support to seafarers who find themselves hospitalised.
An ITF Inspector CANNOT:
- Do more than their national legislation allows;
- Always access 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;
- Perform miracles;
- 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.