<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To protect Maharashtra’s porous and vulnerable coastline, the state government will authenticate the identity of the crew on ships and vessels using an Aadhaar-based biometric system.”We are making Aadhaar cards compulsory for seafarers from October,” Atul Patne, chief executive officer of Maharashtra Maritime Board, told DNA.Patne said the issue of validating identities of seafarers assumed significance as many boats employed people from neighbouring countries like Nepal.”We have developed this app as a coastal security measure. It will be compulsory for the crew of these vessels to carry their Aadhaar cards for verification in surprise checks,” said Sunil Mahajan, Information Technology officer, MMB.He added that the identity of these crew members will be verified through this Aadhaar-based crew validation system using tabs fitted with biometric scanners which will be given to the 54 port inspectors at the 48 ports spread out across Maharashtra’s 720-km coastline. This will help identify any unauthorised people on these boats.Mahajan said the system will be used for around 4,000 inland vessels like cargo and passenger transport ships, boats used in water sports, barges and tugs.The MMB grants certificate of competency (COC), which is a licence for staffers such as engine drivers and masters, on these vessels. These details will be seeded with the Aadhaar database.”This will help us verify the identity of the crew member, the boat on which he is working, his nature and class of employment and past records,” he noted.These details will also be shared periodically with security agencies like the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police.”We can validate a crew member using his Aadhaar card, biometrics and name. If he does not have his Aadhaar card, we can authenticate his identity using his name and biometrics. Any suspicious persons will be handed over to the police,” said Mahajan.The 1992 bomb blasts where explosives were unloaded on the beaches of Raigad district and the 26/11 terror attacks pointed to the vulnerability of Maharashtra’s coastline, which is spread over seven districts of Mumbai city and the suburbs, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
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