In a significant development for the shipping sector, India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Documents (BSID) to capture the facial biometric data of sailors.
In a communiqué, Indian Minister for Shipping and Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya said the shipping sector is undergoing major developments in the area of coastal shipping, inland waterways, and other maritime activities.
The new biometric identity card will pave the way for more employment opportunity in the sector, which is already booming, he said.
He added that the number of Indian seafarers joining Indian or foreign flagged vessels marked an unprecedented increase of 35%.
The minister also said that the new document will facilitate ease movement for seafarers, as it will be a fool-proof identification for them, hence enabling them to get more job opportunities.
The new facial biometric technology is enabled by modern security features over two finger or, iris-based bio-metric data. It will make the identification of the BSID holder more reliable and efficient, while protecting their privacy.
The new card has authorisation under Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation on BSID.
Also, nine data collection centres have been set up at the Indian cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag and Kandla for the issuing of BSID. The BSID project in India has been taken up in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai.