The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has launched a new identification system for seafarers called SID/ SRB.
Since November 2019, they already stopped producing our Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) as you can see in the online appointment MISMO.
What they are issuing today are the Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) and Seafarers’ Record Book (SRB).
What is SID/ SRB?
SID/ SRB are two different entities but came from one being. They are like our Seaman’s Book split into two- an Identity Document and a mariner’s Record Book.
So instead of having a single powerful Seaman’s Book which functions both as an identification and service record log, we now have two separate, probably redundant documents.
You may want to ask, “What’s the point of having those two?”.
Let’s find out more about them.
Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID)
MARINA has separated the “identification” feature of our SIRB, thus giving birth to SID.
To support this move, they cite verses from ILO SID Convention 1958, (No. 108), ILO Convention (Revised), 2003, (No. 185), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Basically, we can summarize them as below.
- Guaranteed the rights of seafarers to temporarily enter a country (transit, shore leave, and crew change).
- Proves that the bearer is a “legitimate seafarer” and is entitled to his rights.
- More robust and modern security features and
- Proof of the bearer’s eligibility for visa waiver.
The 9/ 11 Effect
Since the 9/11 terrorist attack, maritime security has become very tight to the point that some states or ports deny seafarers entry or shore leave.
To avoid the negative effects of stringent security, the Seafarers’ Identity Document was born.
In fact, this new document takes its security feature more seriously.
The physical card itself is packed with distinct attributes, biometric data, and online/ offline smartphone verification.
They are also readable in international border controls, as MARINA claims.
Seafarers’ Record Book (SRB)
Our new SRB was formerly known as SIRB. This document is issued by the Administration to all Filipino seafarers and cadets/ cadettes.
For the holder, it serves as a record of sea service on board ships of 35GT and above for commercial vessels, and 50GT and above for fishing vessels.
SRB’s function will exclusively be for records of employment. It contains the vessel’s particulars and information on the seafarer’s position/ rank held on board.
The legal basis for this is highlighted in Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention 1958 (No. 108).
The paper used in SRB has limited security features because that function is left to SID.
How Can I Get the New SID/ SRB?
As you may noticed, an application for a seaman’s book in MISMO is no longer possible. MISMO is now solely for STCW-type transactions.
If you want to get a Seafarers’ Identification Number (SID) and/ or Seafarers’ Record Book (SRB), they built a new website solely dedicated to that.
How Powerful is the New SID/ SRB?
By this, I’m pertaining to countries that recognize the Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) and Seafarers’ Record Book (SRB).
Can I use it on any port? Can I go for a shore leave in the United States even if I have no US Visa? Would the border control allow me to go to Gibraltar (UK territory) from Spain?
Can we do a crew change in Europe even with an expired Schengen Visa?
Countries that recognize SID
Since it is based on the ILO 185 Convention, only those countries which are signatories honor it. Furthermore, we still have to verify if this is truly happening on the ground.
Our Seaman’s Book (SRB or SIRB) however, remains the de facto document for seafarers. It is still internationally recognized.
SID acts as an extra layer of security both from any state and the seaman.
To answer your questions above, our Seafarers’ Identity Document can only be used in those countries signatories to the ILO 185 Convention.
If your visa has expired and your contract is finished while berthed in any US port, you may have to wait for the next convenient port before you can disembark.
US Coast Guard or Immigration control won’t recognize your SID. Forcing yourself will only cost you or your company a lot of money.
You can still go home while in Schengen States with an expired visa since they provide exit visas for seafarers. But using SID? I don’t think so.
Who Can Apply for a SID/ SRB?
As per MARINA Memorandum Circular MD-2019-01, SID/ SRB covers all Filipino seafarers 18 years of age engaging in any capacity on board ships 35GT and above.
In addition, Filipino cadets/ cadettes below 18 years of age may be issued SID/ SRB for shipboard training purposes only.
Is SID/ SRB Mandatory?
If your current Seafarers’ Identification and Record Book is still valid, there’s no need for you to get the new SRB.
You will only get the new Seafarers’ Record Book (SRB) when you renew or apply for a new one after November 2019.
Since my current SIRB expires in 2027, I won’t be converting it to SRB until it expires or gets fully filled. And I may not also apply for the new Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) in the meantime.
Have you got your SID and SRB? Tell me what you think about them in the comment section below.
May the winds be in your favor.
PS. Image credits go to MARINA.