A record of each BSID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.
A record of each BSID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.

India launches world’s first facial biometric-based ID for seafarers

  • The new document will give a foolproof identification to Indian seafarers which will facilitate their movement and help in identifying them from any location in the world
  • The BSID is a marked improvement over the two finger or iris based bio-metric data, with modern security features

In a move to boost employment in the coastal shipping sector, India has become the first country in the world to issue a Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID) to its seafarers.

Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS (I/C) Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers launched the project in New Delhi today and handed over the new BSID cards to five Indian seafarers.

Mandaviya said that the shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities. This is leading to generation of employment in the sector, which is evident in the growing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry. The total number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from 1,54,349 in 2017 to 2,08,799 this year, showing an increase of 35%.

Mandaviya said that the new document will give a foolproof identification to Indian seafarers which will facilitate their movement, provide ease of getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.

What does the BSID look like?

The BSID has the dimensions of a smart ID card. It introduces modern security features like an embedded biometric chip, as well as optical security features such as micro prints/micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern. The security of the BSID card is ensured at various levels and through different methods. At the time of data capturing the live face is cross matched through passport photo using a face matching software. A software has been developed for capturing the facial biometrics and its authentication through the public key infrastructure.

The technology is a marked improvement over the two finger or iris based bio-metric data, with modern security features. It will make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient, while protecting their dignity and privacy. India had made a presentation on this technology at ILO .

The new card is in confirmation of the Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation on BSID. India ratified the Convention in October 2015.

A record of each SID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.

In India the BSID project has been taken up in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai. The Government notified the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers Bio-metric Identification Document) Rules in 2016. The issuance of SID involves the collection of biometric and demographic details of the seafarers, their verification and then issuance of the card to them.

Nine data collection centers have been setup at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag & Kandla for issue of BSID.

Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate issued by the Govt. of India will be eligible for issue of a BSID. The total number of existing Indian seafarers who will be required to be issued BSIDs is around 3,50,000 . All the existing seafarers will be given BSID within the next 2 years. After this, it is estimated that around 15000 new seafarers will be issued BSIDs annually.

How to apply for a BSID

To apply for a BSID, seafarers will have to fill out an online form following which they'll have to pay a fee and schedule an appointment for verification. The application data will then be scrutinised by a verifying officer with CDC details. Once the applicants clear this, they will be asked to go for data capturing where they'll get their photo clicked and get their biometrics recorded. Then an issuing officer will generate an SID no. for the applicant following which their BSID will be printed and dispatched to their register address.

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