India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document, BSID, capturing the facial biometric data of seafarers. Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya launched the project in New Delhi today. He also handed over the new BSID cards to five Indian seafarers. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mandaviya said that the shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities.
He said the total number of Indian seafarers are employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from over one and a half lakh in 2017 to over two lakhs this year. The Minister said the new document will give a foolproof identification to our seafarers which will facilitate their movement, provide ease of getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.
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 two years. After this, it is estimated that around 15,000 new seafarers will be issued BSIDs annually.