The Indian government has voted in favour of international efforts to establish a biometric card system for all seafarers, saying it will boost anti-fraud and anti-terror initiatives.Some 800,000 seafarers globally would benefit from the ratification of International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on seafarers identity document (SID), Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari told the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) this week.”The Government has approved…ratification of ILO convention no 185 on the SID. The Ministry of External Affairs has been requested to arrange for the instrument of ratification and to obtain the signature of President of India on the instrument,” Gadkari said.The biometric based SID will be developed to “ward off the potential risk of breach of security and possible terrorist attacks”, he said.”Indian seafarers holding this SID will have free movement in foreign shores during leave, get recognised as identified seafarers on the global market and have easy access to better job opportunities in the global maritime sector,” Gadkari added.In February, stakeholders at an International Labour Organisation meeting agreed that seafarers identity documents should be upgraded to a modern travel document such as an ePassport.Held in Geneva, the tripartite meeting of employers, seafarers unions and governments aimed to consider improvements to the Seafarers Identity Documents Convention due to implementation problems.The latest SIDs standards were adopted in 2003, but the convention has failed to achieve widespread implementation.This is because: “the technical standards adopted have been superseded by the technologies and infrastructure now used for the issuance and verification of ePassports”, wrote the World Maritime News.The meeting heard that the technical specifications for SIDs should be updated in order to bring them into line with those technologies currently used for ePassports.