Access to shore facilities and shore leaves are vital elements for seafarers who work and live on ships. These ships carry over 80% of global international trade between nations. Most countries require seafarer identifications before allowing them to enter, transit or carry out the international professional moves necessary for their work and well-being. Hence, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted ILO no.185 Seafarers’ Identity Documents (SID) Convention.
SIDs are a special passport to be carried by seafarers throughout their voyage. Despite the Maldives signing the no.185 provisions in January 2015, the Maldivian seafarers started getting their SID on 28th September 2023.
There are over 300 Maldivian seafarers requiring the card. Reports indicate that they were losing their jobs in recent months because they were denied access to other countries without a SID. These seamen have reportedly inquired in the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Several times. The Ministry took SID applications in June this year and was supposed to issue the cards within a month. According to the Ministry, the delayed issuance was due to a delay in printing the card by Maldives Immigration. Their concerns were brought even to the Defence Minister.
The news was first tweeted by the Controller General (CG) of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain, on 27 September 2023. The CG highlighted that Maldivian Seafarers have faced significant challenges without the vital credential. He also noted that it is a pivotal milestone for Maldivian seafarers and that the document signifies a brighter and more secure future for our maritime professionals.
Seafarers seeking the SIDs are to complete the SID form which is available on the ministry website. Once the form is filled out, it must be sent with the necessary documents to the Ministry via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cards are issued from the Passport section, Velaanaage 1st floor, from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm during working days.