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MARINA Suffers from Surge in Demand for Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID)

MARINA Suffers from Surge in Demand for Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID)

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is presently swamped with quite a high volume of applications for Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) that started only recently.

As a result, seafarers are complaining that it now takes about three months just to get an online appointment for filing an application with the earliest appointment slots available only in April 2021.  

When Seaway inquired into this concern, a ranking MARINA official expressed surprise on this development but offered a most likely explanation for the sudden surge in demand for SID among seafarers.

Capt. Jeffrey Solon, the acting Deputy Administrator for Planning of MARINA, explained that probably certain Port State Control had started to ask for SIDs onboard.

 “We really don’t know what triggered this. Maybe because Russia, Brazil, and Cuba are now looking for SID since we had announced already that the Philippines is the first (country) to comply with this,” Capt. Solon said.

Capt. Edgardo Flores, general manager of crewing company Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd., confirmed that some countries especially in South America had started to require and inspect SIDs among foreign seafarers as mandated to countries signatory to the International Labor Organization Convention No. 185 or the SID Convention.

While the processing time of the SID remains acceptable, between 2 to 4 hours, if a seafarer has an appointment and has completed the requirements, the problem really lies in securing an appointment online.  

One reason for the difficulty in getting an appointment is MARINA’s current manpower situation.  A significant number of its employees are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, unfortunately for some, they have contracted the highly contagious disease.

“We are not under normal operations.  Just now we have 15 new cases of COVID-19,” a MARINA official said.

The official quickly added, however, that MARINA still caters to expedite and walk-in applicants who can show documents that the requirement for SID is immediate.

To avoid the bad situation from turning worse, Capt. Solon urged seafarers that are not required by their manning companies to have SIDs to refrain from applying.  “Pag ang barko nila dito lang sa Asia, dapat hindi na muna sila kumuha ng SID,” he said.

In some countries, the SID serves as a substitute for a visa; it facilitates travel and shore leave for its holder.

From SeawayMagazine

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