Philippine Maritime News

Government impresses to implement with ILO 185 or SID

Finally, The International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 185 or the Seafarer Identity Document (SID) is now moving although it appears too slow.

After President Aquino approved the International instrument last January the government is now in motion towards the implementation of the much delayed SID.

Philippine Permanent Representative to Geneva Evan Garcia and Labor Attache Manuel Imson handed the ratification of the Philippine instrument of the ILO 185 to ILO International Labor Standards Committee Director Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry in Geneva early this month.

It would be remembered that the Convention that seeks to facilitate movements of seafarers in foreign ports suffered delays due mainly to the tug-of-war between the Labor department and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) over what agency should implement it.

The delays have burdened Filipino seafarers since they were penalized in Brazil, a signatory to the Convention. The Filipinos’ failure to present their SID were not only fined but were also prevented from taking a much needed shore leave in any ports of Brazil. After the Philippine government made an appeal that was prompted by a strong lobby by the Joint Manning Group (JMG), the Brazilian government eventually suspended the imposition of penalties.

Malacañang has decided to give it to MARINA since the agency is already implementing the earlier ILO 108 of 1958 or the Seafarer Identification Record Book (SIRB), more popularly called the seaman’s book.

In response to the drastically changed security situation globally following the 9/11 incident in the United States, ILO 185 adopted in 2003 merely amends ILO 108 that came into force in 1961.

Atty. Nicasio Conti, Deputy Administrator for Planning of MARINA explained “Under Executive Order No. 125-A, MARINA is the one given the power to issue the Seafarer Identification Record Book. Since (ILO) 185 is just a rectification of ILO 108, logically we will be the one to issue the Seafarers Identification Document, which we intend to”.

In an interview, he said MARINA would start writing providers to request for a quotation of the technology, both the software as well as the hardware, needed to implement ILO 185.

Atty. Conti said that ILO had accredited several international providers of the technology that comply with the strict requirements of the Convention.

He said “We’ll get a financial adviser to advise us on the costing, but we will write the ILO accredited suppliers so they can give us the cost (of producing the SID’s as well as the machines that read them),”

MARINA would decide on what mode to use in bankrolling the printing of the machine-readable SID that uses biometrics as one of its security features, as well as the machines that would be installed in all major ports for verification of SID of foreign seafarers onboard ocean-going vessels calling at Philippines ports.