January 25th, 2012

President Aquino ratifies ILO Convention 185 and ensures safety of Filipino Seafarers

Manila, Philippines - The International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 185 otherwise known as the Seafarers’ Identity Convention (2003) will finally be ratified by President Benigno S. Aquino III which aims to provide a uniform Seafarer’s Identity Document (SID).

The ratification was announced earlier this month by Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz as she said “With the ratification of ILO Convention 185, the security of our seafarers and their continued employment is assured."

The Labour Secretary also added that the ILO C185 spells out the requirements for ILO member-countries on how to establish processes and procedures for the issuance of the said SIDs. All countries ratifying ILO Convention No. 185 will be required to issue new SIDs that conform to the requirements specified in ILO SID-0002 which is the global standard.

The said document puts in place a comprehensive security system that enables the first global implementation of biometric identification technology on a mandatory basis. This process will enable positive identification of the seafarer that holds the document.

“The Philippines has done extensive work for the implementation of the ILO Convention 185 as preparation for its ratification. Because of this, Filipino seafarers will be able to move more easily around the world with this international document,” said Baldoz.

Under ILO C185, the new SID carries a fingerprint-based biometric template, aside from the normal physical features for a modern machine-readable identity document, which was adopted with the agreement of the world’s ship owners and seafarer organizations. This new SID must conform to an international standard enabling the biometric templates on a SID issued by one country to be correctly read by devices used in other countries.

In addition, border authorities around the world will be able to check the authenticity of a SID produced by a seafarer, as the new Convention enables them to verify information in the SID either by reference to the national electronic database in which each issued SID must be stored, or through the national focal point of the country of issuance, which must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“By ratifying the Convention, the Philippines join an international security system which facilitates the admission of Filipino seafarers into the territory of other ratifying countries for shore leave and other professional purposes,” explained Baldoz.