The International Transport Workers’ Federation’s Jon Whitlow used the launch of the international ‘Year of the Seafarer’ at the International Maritime Organization to outline plans to put more information in the hands of its members.
“The ITF will undertake a number of activities this year, most significantly an ITF academy for seafarers’ rights,” he said. “The academy will be dedicated to education, training and research into seafarers’ law, rights and benefits, with the aim of improving retention and safeguarding their interests.”
The announcement came after speeches from IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos and ICS/ISF chairman Spyros Polemis. While the former were routine rehearsals of well-worn themes (the looming manpower shortage, piracy, criminalisation and the revision of the STCW 95 convention), Whitlow, head of the ITF seafarer section, took a more targeted approach. Seafarers, he concluded, “expect this year to provide more than kind words. Concrete measures to address real problems are essential. The IMO should be assured that we will co-operate in the process to win back for seafarers the respect they so richly deserve.”