Scam manning agents are scourge of the crewing industry and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has launched a new web tool to help give seafarers the upper hand.
The new web tool ITFShipBeSure.org gives seafarers seeking jobs onboard cargo and cruise ships an insight into the quality, or otherwise, of the agents they are dealing with.
It features a directory of crewing agents rated from green (good to go) to red (best avoided). The initial launch of the web tool covers the four major labour supply nations of India, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, and the ITF aims to expand it to cover much of the world.
“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.”
The aim is that seafarers understand what a good crewing agent can do for them and be aware of the scams that bad agents try and pull. Many of the scams can look highly professional.
“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.”
Source: Seatrade Maritime