"Web Port" for international seafarers

I came across this little gem of a website the other day. The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has a long tradition of benefiting the international seafarers, especially those of impoverished nations. They have put their heads together and designed a cool new web site, with a focus on use by seafarers themselves. I encourage you to check the many feature such as maritime news, ship searches, port guide, forum to name a few of the features; not to mention a database of contacts for the ITF when in trouble while working on a ship. Below is the press release about the recent launch - mid June 2008.

ITF launches new resource for world’s seafarers

A major new resource for the world’s seafarers was unveiled this week at the ITF’s maritime conference in Stockholm, Sweden. www.itfseafarers.org, an innovative news, advice and support service, was launched both to press and to the hundreds of inspectors, dockers’ and seafarers’ delegates attending the week long conference.

The new site is the only ‘one stop shop’ for seafarers anywhere, irrespective of how computer literate they are or how good or bad the equipment they access it from may be. It offers them information on their health, their pay and safety and includes features such as: Crew Talk message boards; advice and help; Ship Look-up Tool showing vessel agreements and other information; Inside the Issues briefing area; interactive polls; trade union contact details, and an ITF inspectors’ blog.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton explained how the new project was the result of seafarers’ pleas for web-based support that they could access from home, at sea and, in particular, during time snatched on shore leave. “Time, effort and all the expertise we can draw on has gone into getting this site right,” he said, “and with feedback from users we expect to make it better still.”

Also speaking at the press conference was ITF General Secretary David Cockroft, who told journalists “There are 300 delegates here who are seeing this website and what it can do today, and who are going to take the news of it out from Stockholm to their unions, home countries, ports and seafarers.”

The new site has taken eight months work to develop and launches in English, the international seafarers’ language. Chinese, Russian and Spanish versions will follow. Ease of use and access were built into it from the start.

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