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SHIPOWNERS and shipmanagers have had their battles with the International Transport Workers Federation in the past and will doubtless do so again.

Eyebrows may have been raised therefore at the news that Monaco-based trade association InterManager has signed a memorandum of understanding with the ITF.

The two organisations are planning to work together on a variety of issues including maritime safety, training and the vexed issue of seafarers' criminalisation. InterManager Secretary General elect Kuba Szymanski addressed the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee on the issue of criminalisation last month.

The six strong delegation to MEPC pointed out that the criminalisation of seafarers "directly contrasts with the STCW Sub-Committee's call to shipowners, managers and flag states to do more to encourage young people to consider a career at sea and to work harder to retain existing seafarers".

InterManager and the ITF also plan to work together on ensuring that manning agencies meet the standards laid down by the International Labour Organisation.

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