A ship master attacked an inspector onboard for verifying allegations of non-compliance
An inspector was deployed to conduct investigations onboard a vessel for allegations of non-compliance, only to be assaulted by the ship master. Minimal details of the involved parties were disclosed.
No business in violence
The ship was allegedly not complying with safety regulations, having irregularities in crew payment plus lapses in ensuring safe working conditions. Steve Trowsdale, ITF Inspectorate Coordinator remarked in a strong statement, “The ITF strongly condemns the physical assault against an ITF inspector who was just trying to do his job! The Federation has zero-tolerance towards violence at work, and this extends to how employers in the industry or their agents treat officials such as ITF inspectors!”
Trowsdale stressed inspectors should always be allowed onboard, and the body will defend its cohort of inspectors whenever necessary. He admitted past occurrences of hostility especially when the shipowner or representatives onboard had something to conceal. Such were prevalent when the inspectors conscientiously went through onboard records related to salaries, work and rest hours to ensure they matched the employment terms and conditions.
In relation to the attack, Trowsdale declared shipowners or representatives have no business in being violent towards an inspector or any maritime industry worker – regardless of moods. Though ITF’s inspectors were trained to deal with aggression onboard, this unprecedented episode prompted the body to revisit their inspector safety policies. He asserted, “We have to stop and ask whether as an organisation, are there anything more that could be done to protect our team going forward.”
Violence is unacceptable in any industry, and an act with many facets including passive aggression, which is the hardest to call out. In this case involving physical assault, the shipowner (as an employer) needs to evaluate if the ship master is a right fit. Reporting the unacceptable actions reflect employees’ courage in self-defence, while botching an investigation reflects nothing more than cowardice towards taking responsibility for atrocities.