C185 - Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003, as amended (No. 185)


The General Conference of the International Labour Organization,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office and having met in its Ninety-first Session on 3 June 2003, and Mindful of the continuing threat to the security of passengers and crews and the safety of ships, to the national interest of States and to individuals, and

Mindful also of the core mandate of the Organization, which is to promote decent conditions of work, and

Considering that, given the global nature of the shipping industry, seafarers need special protection, and

Recognizing the principles embodied in the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention 1958, concerning the facilitation of entry by seafarers into the territory of Members for the purposes of shore leave, transit, transfer or repatriation, and

Noting the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, as amended, of the International Maritime Organization, in particular, Standards 3.44 and 3.45, and

Noting further that United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/57/219 (Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism) affirms that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, and

Being aware that seafarers work and live on ships involved in international trade and that access to shore facilities and shore leave are vital elements of seafarers' general well-being and, therefore, to the achievement of safer shipping and cleaner oceans and

Being aware also that the ability to go ashore is essential for joining a ship and leaving after the agreed period of service, and

Noting the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974, as amended, concerning special measures to enhance maritime safety and security, that were adopted by the International Maritime Organization Diplomatic Conference on 12 December 2002, and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to the improved security of seafarers' identification, which is the seventh item on the agenda of the session, and

Having decided that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention revising the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention, 1958,

adopts this nineteenth day of June of the year two thousand and three, the following Convention, which may be cited as the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003.

Article 1
  1. 1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term seafarer means any person who is employed or is engaged or works in any capacity on board a vessel, other than a ship of war, ordinarily engaged in maritime navigation.
  2. 2. In the event of any doubt whether any categories of persons are to be regarded as seafarers for the purpose of this Convention, the question shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of this Convention by the competent authority of the State of nationality or permanent residence of such persons after consulting with the shipowners' and seafarers' organizations concerned.
  3. 3. After consulting the representative organizations of fishing-vessel owners and persons working on board fishing vessels, the competent authority may apply the provisions of this Convention to commercial maritime fishing.
Article 2
  1. 1. Each Member for which this Convention is in force shall issue to each of its nationals who is a seafarer and makes an application to that effect a seafarers' identity document conforming to the provisions of Article 3 of this Convention.
  2. 2. Unless otherwise provided for in this Convention, the issuance of seafarers' identity documents may be subject to the same conditions as those prescribed by national laws and regulations for the issuance of travel documents.
  3. 3. Each Member may also issue seafarers' identity documents referred to in paragraph 1 to seafarers who have been granted the status of permanent resident in its territory. Permanent residents shall in all cases travel in conformity with the provisions of Article 6, paragraph 7.
  4. 4. Each Member shall ensure that seafarers' identity documents are issued without undue delay.
  5. 5. Seafarers shall have the right to an administrative appeal in the case of a rejection of their application.
  6. 6. This Convention shall be without prejudice to the obligations of each Member under international arrangements relating to refugees and stateless persons.
Article 3
  1. 1. The seafarers' identity document covered by this Convention shall conform - in its content - to the model set out in Annex I hereto The form of the document and the materials used in it shall be consistent with the general specifications set out in the model, which shall be based on the criteria set out below. Provided that any amendment is consistent with the following paragraphs, Annex I may, where necessary, be amended in accordance with Article 8 below, in particular to take account of technological developments. The decision to adopt the amendment shall specify when the amendment will enter into effect, taking account of the need to give Members sufficient time to make any necessary revisions of their national seafarers' identity documents and procedures.
  2. 2. The seafarers' identity document shall be designed in a simple manner, be made of durable material, with special regard to conditions at sea and be machine-readable. The materials used shall:
    • (a) prevent tampering with the document or falsification, as far as possible, and enable easy detection of alterations; and
    • (b) be generally accessible to governments at the lowest cost consistent with reliably achieving the purpose set out in (a) above.
  3. 3. Members shall take into account any available guidelines developed by the International Labour Organization on standards of the technology to be used which will facilitate the use of a common international standard.
  4. 4. The seafarers' identity document shall be no larger than a normal passport.
  5. 5. The seafarers' identity document shall contain the name of the issuing authority, indications enabling rapid contact with that authority, the date and place of issue of the document, and the following statements:
    • (a) this document is a seafarers' identity document for the purpose of the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003, of the International Labour Organization; and
    • (b) this document is a stand-alone document and not a passport.
  6. 6. The maximum validity of a seafarers' identity document shall be determined in accordance with the laws and regulations of the issuing State and shall in no case exceed ten years, subject to renewal after the first five years.
  7. 7. Particulars about the holder included in the seafarer's identity document shall be restricted to the following:
    • (a) full name (first and last names where applicable);
    • (b) sex;
    • (c) date and place of birth;
    • (d) nationality;
    • (e) any special physical characteristics that may assist identification;
    • (f) digital or original photograph; and
    • (g) signature.
  8. 8. Notwithstanding paragraph 7 above, a template or other representation of a...

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