Swiss-based track and trace specialist SICPA, in partnership with Hong Kong’s Crew Assist, has developed an urgently needed tech solution to the crew change crisis.
A proof-of-concept trial featuring the brand new CERTUSTM myHealth Pass has started. The digital document is designed to alleviate concern from governments over the validity of many crew’s Covid-19 health checks, one of the stumbling blocks in the ongoing seafarer repatriation saga that has dogged the shipping industry this year.
Regulatory bodies and government agencies that question the authenticity of paper documents are preventing seafarers from disembarking their vessels and blocking potential replacements from traveling to board ships.
CERTUSTM myHealth Pass solves this issue by validating digital documents through SICPA’s existing and widely accepted solution, CERTUSTM. SIPCA’s technology authenticates both paper-based and digital critical information.
The solution will be used to issue, and secure WHO-approved Covid-19 test results, guaranteeing their authenticity. Seafarers will be able to carry their authenticated digital health pass via their smartphone.
Founded in Switzerland in 1927, SICPA is the leading global supplier of security features for banknotes and of secured track and trace systems for governments. CERTUS myHealth Pass uses advanced technologies including tamper-proof QR and blockchain to provide a high level of security.
The trial is supported by the shipping industry, including the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) of employers, and seafarers themselves through the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The three representative bodies have been working together to support the development of technology and techniques which help resolve the present crew change crisis.
The initial trial will be conducted both in Singapore and the Philippines, home to the largest pool of seafarers in the world. If the proof-of-concept trial succeeds, then Filipino seafarers using CERTUSTM myHealth Pass will overcome one major obstacle preventing them from disembarking and travelling overseas to connect with ships for boarding. A successful trial will also allow an expansion to different countries.
Crew Assist CEO Jonathan Jones said today: “Since the onset of the pandemic, the industry has been battling the bureaucracy and fluctuating regulations preventing seafarer changes. CERTUSTM myHealth Pass offers a technology-based solution that can potentially eliminate a major concern, allowing us to focus on other aspects of facilitating a crew change to get our colleagues home.”
The Swiss initiative will be welcomed in Manila. Dario Alampay, chairman of the Joint Manning Group based in Manila, wrote to Splash earlier this month outlining global solutions to fix the current seafarer travel impasse.
The Joint Manning Group is composed of the five leading manning associations in the Philippines.
Alampay called for a global approach to have all seafarers of all nationalities adopt a common digital quarantine pass recorded via blockchain as well as a seamless contact tracing system, something that SICPA has now created.