India declares to have become the first nation in the world to begin biometric facial identification technology in its seafarer identification documents, commonly known as SID.
The current Biometric Seafarer Identity Document will change the present Continuous Discharge Certificate, and the inbuilt chip will be enabled to be read at the point of sale readers, ATMs and by immigration officers.
The new facial biometric technology is alleged to be an improvement over the two-finger or iris-based bio-metric data. At the time of data capture, the seafarer’s face is cross matched through passport photo using face matching software. The card has got two optical security attributes – micro prints/micro texts and a Unique Guilloche pattern. The new card conforms to ILO Convention No. 185 which India ratified in October 2015.
The new documents will be rolled out over the next two years, as said by the India’s shipping minister Masukh Mandaviya. The nine centers have been set up to issue the ID – at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag, and Kandla.
These new documents will give a foolproof identification to the seafarers which will facilitate their movement, providing ease of getting jobs and helping in identifying them from any location in the world.
India’s shipping sector is growing immensely, with major developments in coastal shipping, inland waterways, and other maritime activities. There is also a growing number of Indian seafarers in the global shipping industry. The number of Indian seafarers employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels has raised from 154,349 in 2017 to 208,799, an unparalleled 35 percent.