MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Philippines has been adjudged recently by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as the first ratifying Member State to be listed as fully meeting the minimum requirements referred to in Article 5, paragraph 1 of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents (SID) Convention (Revised), 2003, as amended (No. 185).

Article 5 of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, as amended, establishes minimum requirements, for the protection of security and seafarers’ rights, concerning the processes and procedures of ratifying Members for the issuance of the SID.

As the government agency mandated to give full and complete effect to the SID Convention, the Maritime Industry Authority welcomed this new development as a milestone in its continuing effort to promote and protect, not only the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers but also to secure their continuing employment with foreign shipowners and principals.

As the first ratifying Member to be “whitelisted” under the ILO Convention 185, as amended, and pursuant to the Official ILO Governing Body Resolution on this matter, the Philippines through the MARINA received positively the information that the Philippines SID card will now become the “template” for other ratifying Member States. This is clearly an indication of the country’s seriousness to give full and complete effect to international maritime instruments with which it is a State Party.

MARINA Administrator Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad said that the ILO’s decision is timely since a new protocol has been reported to be requiring Seafarer’s Identity Documents (SID) effective 01 December 2020, for all foreign seafarers, including Filipino seafarers who are travelling to Brazil or any of its gateway ports.

According to the International Airline Services and the ATPI – a multinational travel management company – the Brazil Immigration requires an SID for all foreign seafarers instead of the Seaman’s book, which is no longer accepted by their authorities to enter/exit Brazil.

“In recent debates held within the National Immigration Council that culminated in the edition of Normative Resolution No. 42/2020, which gave new wording to Normative Resolution No. 6/2017, the possibility of the adoption of a more modern and appropriate interpretation of the provisions of Art. 29 was recognized. § 7, item I, of Decree 9,199/2017. It was therefore recognized that only the identity card of a seafarer issued pursuant to ILO Convention No. 185 will be accepted by the Federal Police as a travel document and for the purpose of exemption from a temporary visa,” stated in the International Maritime Portfolio issued pursuant in accordance with convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The MARINA sees this protocol to benefit Filipino seafarers particularly in the facilitation of their movements in various ports of the world. Through this document, Filipino seafarers will experience less trouble in filing for shore leaves, cross borders, and repatriation by doing away with the stringent requirements of a traditional travel visa.

The SID, complimenting the existing Seaman’s Identity and Records Book (SIRB), is a maritime security document developed by the ILO as a response to the increased need for security at seaports as a consequence of the series of terrorist attacks that ensued following the 9/11 incident in the United States of America that rippled all across the globe.

The MARINA Central Office and all its Regional Offices nationwide issue SID cards and can be applied online.