The Indian Ministry of Shipping has introduced facial biometric cards known as Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID) for seafarers.

India has become the first country in the world to provide facial biometric cards to seafarers. The project was introduced by the Indian Minister of Shipping Mansukh Lal Mandaviya in New Delhi.

The new card will provide a reliable seafarer identification, which will facilitate their movement.

The new technology will verify the seafarer identity from any location around the world, which will support them in securing new jobs.

Embedded with a biometric chip, the BSID incorporates two optical security features, which are micro prints/micro texts and a unique guilloche pattern.

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Mumbai has designed the software to capture and identify the facial biometrics using the public key infrastructure (PKI).

Using a face-matching software, the live face is cross-matched with the passport photo.

The national database will maintain the records of each BSID and related information that will be accessible worldwide.

Mandaviya said that the shipping sector is undergoing significant developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities. As a result, the sector is creating a number of employment opportunities.

To issue the card, the government has set up nine data collection centres in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New Mangalore, Noida, Goa, Kochi, Vizag, and Kandla.

Each Indian seafarer who owns a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate can obtain a BSID card.

Currently, there are approximately 350,000 seafarers. All eligible seafarers will be issued a BSID card within the next two years.