The facial biometric technology aims to make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient, while also protecting their dignity and privacy.

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With the shipping sector experiencing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities, more employment is created in the sector. This is evident by the increasing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry.

In fact, the overall number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels rose from 154,349 in 2017 to 208,799 this year, showing an increase of 35%. 

According to Shri Mandaviya, BSID is very important against the backdrop of the increase in seafaring activities. The document aspires to provide a safe identification to seafarers, which will facilitate their movement, enable getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.

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.

The BSID introduces modern security features. It will have a biometric chip embedded in it, and its security is ensured at several 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.

In addition, 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 via the public key infrastructure.

Moreover, a record of each SID issued will remain in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.

In India the BSID project was launched in cooperation with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai. The Government informed the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers Bio-metric Identification Document) Rules in 2016. The issuance of SID regards 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 established at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag & Kandla for issue of BSID. Every Indian seafarer who has 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 expected that about 150,00 new seafarers will be issued BSIDs every year.