Going paperless using blockchain technology
FUTURE seafarers from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) will no longer need to carry their bulky certificates with them every time they travel for sea duty on their ocean-going vessels.
In full swing with its drive to go paperless, MAAP launched an e-wallet that would contain all the records of all cadets from enrollment to graduation using blockchain technology.
“It’s very difficult to hack. So what we did was all our cadets now, their certificate will have QR codes. It’s a picture taken of [these], and they are loaded into the cadet’s e-wallet. The cadet will only show his e-wallet to show his certificates,” said Vice Admiral Eduardo Ma. R. Santos, MAAP president and concurrent vice president of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (Amosup).
The adoption of the digital wallet will start this academic year 2022-2023, Santos said shortly after the launch, which served as one of the highlights of the celebration of the Nautical Institute Philippine Branch of the 50th anniversary of The Nautical Institute held at the Amosup Convention Center last November 18 .
“Lahat ng studentado may e-wallet na; ilo-load namin ‘yung mga certifikat na nila. Pati COC (Certificates of Competency) at COP (Certificates of Proficiency), ikakarga namin as e-wallet,” he said .
This development will eliminate the need for seafarers to carry their many documents on board or when dealing with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) or their manning agency.
“Certificates from blockchain and certificates from enrollment to graduation until they become sailors and naval officers, nasa blockchain na sila; personal record no more,” Santos said.
“If the port state control wants to see their certificates, they can scan the QR code; all the records are in the e-wallet,” he added.
In terms of security, staffing agencies for cadets and sailors can access their e-wallets, but they can only read the records and cannot tamper with them.
Only cadets and sailors can make changes. If the files were accidentally deleted, “a server on MAAP can back up,” Santos assured.
In a short time, it is expected that the industry, especially from Maritime Higher Education Institutions (MHEIs) will adopt this pioneering initiative of Amosup powered MAAP.
Santos said the e-wallet project does not need any significant investment and is free for the cadets.
His statement is corroborated by Captain Jitesh Jaipuriyar, MAAP’s partner and the provider of the technology in the e-wallet initiative.
“It is expensive as it has a lot of value in it, but it is cheap,” said Jaipuriyar.
“In the e-wallet that we just launched, it is important that we do not charge a single centavo to seafarers. Seafarers can have the e-wallet for free for life,” declared Jaipuriyar.
He explained that “there is a certain amount of subscription cost for the user of the data, they may be shipowners or manning companies, but the seafarers do not pay.”
Jaipuriyar, who spent many years sailing alongside Filipino seafarers, is proud to have pioneered the e-wallet project in the Philippines and MAAP.
“Hats off to VAdm Santos; he is our guiding pillar who is there to adopt new technology. We need a leader like this to overcome new challenges to be relevant in changing times,” he said.
Under Santos’ watch, the country’s leading maritime institution based in Bataan is a consistent pioneer in the use of modern information and communication technology to improve the quality of education and remain at par with maritime institutions in developed countries.
It recently partnered with GenuineIN Technologies to begin building MAAP’s talent ecosystem that will connect with industry stakeholders for credential exchange, student profiling, talent analytics and, eventually, recruiting.
GenuineIN Technologies, the provider of the world’s first genuine profile system with a network of credential providers and data authentication, will use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve the employability of MAAP graduates.