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Merchant Shipping Secretariat
Sri Lanka

Who says Government can’t be efficient?

The Merchant Shipping Secretariat of Sri Lanka division of the Ministry of Ports & Highways is the issuing authority and certifying body for Certificate of Competency (COC) and Continues Discharge Certificates (CDC) for Sri Lankans who carryout duties on Merchant Vessels.

Earlier, Merchant shipping division was issuing the above-mentioned documents on manually printed books and then relevant data was captured manually to a web form and then updated their web site for national / international verification of issued documents and certificates over the internet.

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"After long years of storing thousands of paper documents, the Merchant Shipping Secretariat of Sri Lanka had come to a critical moment: either invest more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money in costly and space-consuming manual process or else modernize with a new Electronic Content Management system."

“There was no room left and we had to do something,” Capt. Sunil Jayaweera recalled. “We were looking for an affordable, easy-to-use solution that would eliminate our reliance on paper and make it easier to store and retrieve important records and fast track our services to public.” Director General of Merchant Shipping Secretariat had been attempting to find a workable solution for a couple of years and then went on to publish a RFP. After carefully evaluating the Proposals, DoxPro Enterprise Content Management System was selected.

Merchant Shipping Secretariat of Sri Lanka deals with ensuring safety of life and property at sea, maritime education, training, examination and certification, registration of ships under Sri Lanka flag, Licensing of Shipping Agents, Container Depot Operators, Container Terminal Operators, Container Freight Stations, Freight Forwarders or a Non- Vessel Operating Common carrier and implementing provisions of all applicable international Maritime conventions and national regulations. As its overreaching responsibility in Sri Lanka, the MSS develops and implements the government’s maritime safety policy. In this remit, though, it has many roles including checking of ships for compliance of Sri Lankan and International Safety regulations (Flag State and Port State Control).

Before the Merchant Shipping installed DoxPro Enterprise Content Management System, Merchant Shipping Secretariat of Sri Lanka was facing following key problems.

  • Printing of document was not software driven so, there was a gap between printing and online verification system hence, data entering is necessary to update the online verification system once a Certificates Of Competency(COC) or Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) document has issued.
  • Online verification system was a simple, web based solution which does not carry out latest security verification techniques for operators as well as inspecting users.
  • Data entering system also uses web forms, without proper security mechanisms hence, there was a great possibility of fraudulent activities to happen.
  • Since the Certificates Of Competency (COC) and Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) are critical documents, access rights, privilege assignments to the software system is appeared as basic which is not sufficient and satisfied.
  • Certificate printing books are basic booklets which does not carry any security related options which then can be easily forged.
  • Existing software solution has hosted remotely to the client’s office hence, cannot guarantee about the security of resting data on the web server as well as database system. Even the higher authority of Merchant Shipping Division does not have access to these locations for any periodic audits.
  • COC and CDC documents are not according to the International Labour Organization regulations.

By Implementing DoxPro Enterprise Content Management System, Merchant Shipping Division of the Ministry of Ports achieved the following key objectives.

  • COC and CDC documents on secured, forge-proof booklets.
  • Managed to Incorporated latest security techniques and verification mechanisms to the Certificate books
  • Managed to introduce complete software solution by automating the full process, from issuing to verification of certificates.
  • Managed to implement PKI based security to the software solution for protect and safeguard seaman’s data which are fed to the system as well as system operators from being victims of fraudulent activities.
  • Managed to satisfy customers (document holders) by providing high tech and trust worthy COC and CDC documents.