India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial biometric data of seafarers.
Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya launched the project on Wednesday and handed over the new BSID cards to five Indian seafarers.
The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two-finger or iris-based biometric data, with modern security features.
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 shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways, and other maritime activities. This is leading to the generation of employment in the sector, which is evident in the growing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry," said Mandaviya.
"The total number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from 1,54,349 in 2017 to 2,08,799 this year, showing an unprecedented increase of 35 per cent," he said.
The BSID will have a biometric chip embedded in it. The security of the BSID card is ensured at various 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. The card has two optical security features -- micro prints or micro texts and 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 SID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.
Nine data collection centres have been set up at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag, and Kandla for issuing of BSID.
Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate issued by the government will be eligible for the issue of a BSID.
Source: Business Standard