Biometric Identity System for Sailors To Be Implemented

Seafarers' identity documents to use biometrics to contribute to global transportation security


The first global biometric identification system for issuing secure identity documents to 1.2 million seafarers in the world has come into force from February 9. All countries ratifying International Convention No.185 will now be required to issue new Seafarers' Identity Documents (SIDs) that conform to the requirements specified in the standard known as ILO SID-0002, said an ILO press release. Over 50 nations have submitted the Convention for consideration by their national parliaments. Many of them, including India, Philippines and Indonesia, which have large numbers of seafarers, are making plans of action while considering the ratification of the Convention. The SID Convention, 2003, adopted by the government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference in June 2003, came into force after ratification by France, Jordan and Nigeria. Two countries needed to ratify the International Convention before it could come into force, the release said. "The Convention puts in place a comprehensive security system that enables the first global implementation of biometric identification technology on a mandatory basis, thus enabling positive identification of the seafarer that holds the document," said ILO director of International Standards Department Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry. The negotiations that concluded with the adoption of Convention No 185 were held in response to the need for greater global security, while guaranteeing the rights of workers in the shipping fleet, which handles nearly 90% of world trade. In March 2004, the ILO governing body had approved standards for converting two fingerprints into a "biometric template" to be stored in an internationally standardised 2-D barcode, which would be printed on the SIDs.