IBF agreements include a funding element which requires IMEC Members to make SEP payments of US$10 per month for every seafarer serving on an IBF registered vessel.

Originally entitled the Developed Economy Rating (DER) Fund, it was renamed during the IBF negotiations in 2009 to encompass an expanded purpose for the application of the fund.

The purposes of the fund are to provide for either:

  •  funding for non-mandatory training, education, seminars, skills enhancement, advertising the attractiveness of working at sea, recruitment; or
  • compensation for additional expenses incurred by employers in employing DER (developed economy ratings) compared with employing ratings from developing economy countries.

Applications can be made to receive a grant of up to 90% of the money paid into the fund.

Applications are evaluated by a Fund Management Committee, consisting of equal representation from the ITF and IMEC.


Applications for grants for monies paid to the fund for the year 2021 are open from 1 April 2022 until 30 June 2022.

The following documents are given as guidance when submitting an SEPF application.

SEPF Grant Application Guidance Notes
Example of a completed application for a training grant

Members are reminded that applications for mandatory training courses that are required by IMO Maritime International Conventions will not be accepted. Only courses that are not a mandatory requirement under STCW, ISM, ISPS etc. will be considered.

Applying companies must also be supported by a partner union – either the union signing the CBA or the labour supply country union. A supporting letter or email from the union is required to be included with applications, together with an expenses summary and copy invoices where possible.

Any applications with attachment files larger than 10mb are kindly requested to send using a file sharing service to ensure safe receipt.

To apply, complete the SEPF Application Form and return to Phil Enright.

Here is a summary of all funds, which are available to IMEC members.