India has become the first country in the world to issue smart ID card to seafarers containing their facial biometric details which will replace the existing Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC)—a passport-like document.
The Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID) was launched by shipping minister Masukh Mandaviya. The directorate general of shipping said total number of existing Indian seafarers who will be required to be issued BSIDs is around 3.5 lakh. All the existing seafarers will be given BSID within the next two years. After this, it is estimated that around 15,000 new seafarers will be issued BSIDs annually.
  1. The smart IDs have an inbuilt chip recording all the details of the seafarer. The cards can be read by any normal point of sale (PoS) or ATM reader machine and can be used by the immigration officers for quick processing.
  2. The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two finger or iris based biometric data, with modern security features. 
  3. 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 International Labour Organisation.
  4. There has been a 35% increase in the 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 lakh in 2017 to 20.87 lakh this year.
  5. The new document will give foolproof identification to Indian seafarers which will facilitate their movement, make it easier for them to get jobs and help identify them from any location in the world. It conforms to the ILO convention.
  6. The shipping ministry said at the time of data capture, the live face is cross-matched through passport photo using a face matching software. 
  7. The card has two optical security features - micro prints/ micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern. A software has been developed for capturing the facial biometrics and its authentication through the public key infrastructure.
  8. A record of each SID issued will be maintained in a national database and related information will be internationally accessible. 
  9. Nine data collection centres have been set up at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag and Kandla for issue of BSID. 
  10. Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid CDC issued by the government will be eligible for issue of a BSID.