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NMSA to begin issue of PNG Crewman’s identity cards - Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority

The Seafarers Identification Card (SID), PNG – Crewman’s Identity Card refers to an international identity document under ILO Convention as a proof of seafarer’s identity other than the Crewman’s Record Book, which may be eligible for visa waiver.
Additionally, this document can be used to identify genuine seafarers who may be entitled to transit with their passport at ports and border crossings and to have a shore leave without a visa.
The SID is the product of the ILO (International Labor Organization) Convention No. 185, otherwise known as the Seafarer’s Identity Documents Convention, and the STCW Convention.
Above all, its main purpose is to promote a modern security document to immigration and border facilities and to simplify identification and verification requirements for seafarers.
PNG has not ratified the ILO Convention No.108, which is now superseded by Convention No. 185, both about seafarer identity,
However, the Seafarers Identity Card was issued under section 154 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1975, since the 1980s, in a paper laminated format through the Maritime Division of the Department of Transport.
Due to staffing and funding constraints and the transition from the Maritime Division of the Department of Transport to the National Maritime Safety Authority, no ID cards have been issued to date.
In 2017, the Marine Qualifications Department decided to start issuing the ID cards in line with the Merchant Shipping Act, Section 154, with an improved form of ID card technology to ensure PNG seafarers have a proper Identification document other than a Crewman’s Employment Record Book.
This PVC printed ID card, although in no way meeting the requirements of ILO Convent No. 185 which require biometric security features, is an upgrade of the previously issued paper laminated ID cards.
After delays due to procurement of equipment and technical bottlenecks, the NMSA Qualifications Department is now ready to accept and process applications, print and issue these new Crewman’s Identity Cards to all PNG Seafarers with a valid Certificate of Competence.
The official launching of the ID Card system by the department took place at the PNG Maritime College in Madang on June 25, during the World Seafarer’ Day.
After the launching, the first batch of applications from the students there, including photographs for the ID cards were taken.
This was done at no cost to the ID card holders, and involved other details like validity of the cards, application process, lost ID, renewal, and others.
With these ID cards, seafarers will be able to identify themselves against a crew list for entry into PNG’s port areas. As this is a statutory maritime ID card issued by the Maritime Administration of PNG, this can be used for other identification purposes like banks, airport security checks, and others.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, where many seafarers are stranded on board with no relief arrangements and the ILO fighting to get ship owners, operators and countries to allow safe crew exchanges, this is a timely re-introduction of the PNG Crewman’s Identity Card, giving our seafarers transition through port Facilities and airports with PNG and abroad with ease

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