Register of seafarers: is it working or not?
Over the past two weeks, the Seafarer’s account has been “resurrected” twice. But eventually, it is still unclear whether the State Register of Seafarers of Ukraine has really fully resumed its functions, or whether this is the renewal of a fraudulent scheme that was previously eliminated by the SBU.
The USM has attempted to re-create the chronology of events and find out if it is now possible to renew maritime documents.
Today search engines offer two different resources at the request “seafarer’s account”: sea.e-transport.gov.ua and cabinet.itcs.net.ua. The first is the unified State seafarer’s account. It started working on the Unified Transport Portal of Electronic Services in April last year. However, on July 15th, after the SBU searches in the Maritime Administration and the Odesa branch of the State Enterprise “Morrichservice”, the work of this service for seafarers was blocked. At that time, they promised to restore the work of state services from 25th to 28th July. After these dates, the maritime services remained “being down”, it was impossible to go to them. On August 10th, a clone of the seafarer’s account cabinet.itcs.net.ua appeared, which is illegal.
Already on August 3rd, representatives of the SBU, MIU and the Ministry of Digital Transformation gathered a conference, at which they said that the state register was created and developed for public money, but since the end of 2019 it has been on a private server. To obtain the necessary documents, they demanded bribes from the seafarers. In order to obtain confirmation of qualifications, seafarers had to pay from 3 to 8 thousand dollars. Now the SBU returned the State Register of Seafarers under the control of the MIU, but reported that it would take at least two months to restore the operation of maritime services.
On August 26th, on the website of the Inspectorate for Training and Certification of Seafarers (ITCS), information appeared that the seafarer’s account resumed its work in full. In their appeal, the ITCS indicated that the site cabinet.itcs.net.ua, which was and remains illegal, has resumed its work. On the same day, the MIU press service denied this message:
“The existing electronic cabinets associated with the old database are not under the control of the authorized state bodies. Only in isolated issue, the information from it is used to verify the documents of seafarers who are now on voyages. The relaunching of the Seafarer’s account will be announced on the official resources of the Ministry of Infrastructure.”
After the refutation of the information from the MIU, on the ITCS website on August 28th, it was again reported that the Inspectorate, on behalf of the MIU, relaunched the Register of documents of the seafarer, the State Qualifying Commission and the Seafarer`s account. The message again indicated a link to the site cabinet.itcs.net.ua.
“ITCS as the manager of the personal database of seafarers informs that in pursuance of certain instructions of the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine № “191/46 / 11-21” dated 21.07.21. And № “194/46 / 11-21” dated 23.07. 21, we have relaunched the State Register of Seafarer’s Documents, the State Registration Committee and the Seafarer’s Account”.
When you try to log in to the seafarer’s account through the website cabinet.itcs.net.ua, you are redirected to the state portal Diia.
It was about this principle of work that the Minister of Digital Transformation Mikhail Fedorov spoke about during the conference on August 3rd: “The logon to the new state register will be digital using an electronic signature. We hope that those services related to seafarers will be launched on the Diia portal according to the canons of state public services ”.
This can confuse many seafarers who are not aware of the clone site’s existence. It is worth noting that if you want to log in using your passport data or electronic signature, an error notification appears on the clone site.
USM spoke with Kristina Korol, Head of the Ukrainian Seafarers Union, to find out what is really going on with the seafarer’s account today:
“The situation is stalemate. There is ITCS, which, unfortunately, is completely under the influence of a corruption scheme. All provocative news about the relaunching of the seaman’s office is being published so that the seafarers go through the illegal seaafarer’s account and agents. Thus, seafarers will again pay money for obtaining confirmation and renewal of documents. At the same time, when the state legal seafarer’s account starts working, all maritime documents will be invalid.
The Ministry of Digitalization of Ukraine has already been informed that the illegal seafarer’s account duplicates the interface of the state portal Diia. The Ministry immediately blocked the possibility of logon to the seafarer’s account using a passport or electronic signature. Therefore, it is possible to enter an illegal account only by phone number.
At the moment, there is no legal state seafarer’s account and state register. Now MIU is working to restore these services, but the process is slowing down, as this requires appropriate funding from the state and carrying out tenders. Our organization insists that, while the development of state sites is in progress, it will be possible to return the submission of documents in the “manual” mode.”
As of today, August 31st, the MIU has again denied the fact of the relaunching of the seaman’s account and the state register.
“Work on the restoration of the state register and related electronic services of the seafarer continues together with a team of specialists from the Ministry of Digital Transformation. The existing accounts are linked to the old database, which is not under the control of the authorized state bodies. Only in isolated issue, the information from it is used to verify the documents of seafarers who are now on voyages,” the MIU explained.
All official information about the work of maritime services is promised to be published on the official resources of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Based on this information, USM advises seafarers not to try to obtain/renew their documents either through sea.e-transport.gov.ua or through cabinet.itcs.net.ua. The state register does not work. And the clone site is illegitimate. At the same time, some maritime agents have already begun to disseminate information that the site cabinet.itcs.net.ua has been legalized, and all documents issued through it will in the future be entered into a new database. But this information is not true.
“Agents want seafarers to walk through the illegal seafarer account and agents’. Thus, seafarers will again pay money for obtaining confirmation and renewal of documents,” says Kristina Korol, Head of the Ukrainian Seafarers Union.
Accordingly, documents issued through the clone site will have no legal force when the State Register is restored. And thousands of seafarers, jumping at this bait, will simply lose their money. No one knows how much time the seafarers will have to wait for a legal opportunity to obtain their diplomas and renew their maritime documents online. The exact date is not called even in the MIU.