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Indian Economy

World’s First Facial Biometric Seafarer Identity Document

  • 29 Aug 2019
  • 2 min read

India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial biometric data of seafarers.

  • The project has been launched by the Ministry of Shipping.
  • 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.


  • Development of BSID is very significant against the backdrop of the increase in seafaring activities.
  • BSID will provide a foolproof identification to seafarers which will facilitate:
    • Seafarer's movement,
    • Ease of getting jobs,
    • Identification of seafarers from any location in the world.
  • The shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities.
  • These major developments will increase 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 by 35% from 2017 to 2019.

Biometric Seafarer Identity Document

  • It will have a biometric chip embedded in it.
  • The card has two optical security features:
    • Micro prints/micro texts
    • Unique Guilloche pattern.
  • A software has been developed for capturing the facial biometrics and its authentication through the public key infrastructure.
  • A record of each Seafarer Identity Document (SID) issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.

Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation on BSID.

  • The convention promotes:
    • Security against potential threats of International Terrorism.
    • Introduces modern security features of the BSID.
    • Requiring a record of each BSID issued to be maintained in a national database, with the related information to be internationally accessible.
    • Ensures the reliability of the identification of the holder of the BSID, while protecting the holder’s dignity and privacy.

Source: PIB

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