If you want to work in ocean-going or coast wise vessels, you are entitled to apply for and possess a Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) or what is commonly referred by many sailors as ‘seaman’s book’.
On its first pages, you can find the seaman’s book unique alphanumeric number, and its date and place of issue written along with your basic personal information. Eventually, you may present your seaman’s book as a government-issued ID if circumstances require you so.
The succeeding pages are for seagoing service records. Once you start working on board for example, the Captain or any authorized representative will fill-up a designated section. On it, he writes the vessel’s name, IMO number, place of registry and gross tonnage on one column followed next by your rank, dates, and places when/where you join/disembark the ship.
To avoid future problems, make sure your sea service is correctly recorded, stamped or signed before you jump-off the ship to fly home.
Moreover, did you know that the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA has the right to suspend/cancel your seaman’s book?
On its memorandum circular No. 87, the issuing body wrote these grounds for suspension/revocation.
- Incompetence, negligence of incapacity in the performance of duty.
- Intemperate habits such as drunkenness tending to cause immediate loss or destruction or serious damage to the vessel or tending to endanger the life of any person organic to or passenger of such vessel.
- Insubordination or direct assault
- Violation of the terms and conditions of the contract without just cause
- Final conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction of a crime involving moral turpitude.
On the same memorandum, a mandatory cancellation of SIRB is applicable if the owner has committed:
- Assault with dangerous weapon
- Malicious destruction of ship’s property
- Misconduct resulting in loss of life and/or serious injury
- Molestation of passenger
- Murder or attempted murder
- Possession, use, sale or association with prohibited drugs, including marijuana
- Court conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude
- Smuggling of aliens or goods including firearms and ammunition
- Theft of ship’s property or stores
- Jumping ship
- Serious neglect of duty
Your seaman’s book serves as your ‘passport’ to work legally at sea. Take good care of it for a suspended/recalled seaman’s book costs an arm and a leg, worst a cancelled one puts your seafaring career to a grand end – a not so happy ending, I guess?