Maritime Security Identification Card

Maritime Security Identification Card


What is an MSIC?

A Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) is a nationally consistent identification card which is issued to identify a person who has been the subject of a background check. It shows that the holder has met the minimum security requirements and needs to work unescorted or unmonitored in a maritime security zone. The MSIC is not an access card and the relevant authority at each port or facility still controls access to its maritime security zones.[1]

From 1 December 2010, the expiry dates of MSIC will change from five years to either two or four years. Background checks will be conducted every two years.[2]


In May 2005, the Australian Government introduced amendments to the Maritime Transport Security Act 2003[3] in Federal Parliament in an effort to further secure the nation's maritime and offshore industries. These amendments have led to the introduction of maritime security identity cards (MSIC) which will ensure that those working in these critical industries are subject to appropriate background checking as now occurs in the aviation industry.

As a nationally recognised form of maritime and offshore industry identification, the MSIC will distinguish the holder as having met the minimum background checking requirements. It is essential for all maritime industry workers and contractors who operate within maritime security zones at ports, ships and oil and gas facilities.

From 1 January 2007, all personnel requiring unmonitored access to a maritime or offshore security zone will be required to display an MSIC.[4]

The MSIC is a program similar to the Aviation Security Identification Card, program found in the aviation industry.

On 29 January 2010, the then Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister Albanese, announced a number of enhancements to the MSIC regime following a review of the MSIC scheme. The key changes coming out of the announcement include:
• the offences that prevent an individual from holding an MSIC have been expanded to cover additional offences including espionage, kidnapping, explosives, illegal firearms, acts of violence, fraud and dishonesty offences (from 1 July 2010);
• background checks will be conducted every two years with cards being valid for up to four years (from 1 December 2010);
• a new offence to prosecute MSIC holders who fail to advise their MSIC issuing body of changes to their criminal record (from 1 December 2010); and
• a new offence to prosecute MSIC issuing bodies who fail to suspend an MSIC at the direction of the Secretary of the Department, or fail to cancel the card if the person is convicted of a disqualifying offence or convicted of any other maritime security relevant offence and sentenced to imprisonment (from 1 December 2010).[5]

Who needs an MSIC?

A person has an operational need to hold an MSIC if his or her occupation or business interests require, or will require, him or her to have unmonitored access to a maritime security zone at least once a year. This includes:
• Port, port facility and port service workers;
• Stevedores;
• Transport operators such as train and truck drivers;
• Seafarers on Australian regulated ships and;
• People who work on and/or supply offshore oil and gas facilities.

What does the application process involve?

Once an applicant has lodged their application, the issuing body will confirm the applicant's identity, confirm the applicant's operational need for an MSIC, request a background check of the applicant by AusCheck[6], and if necessary, confirm the applicant's right to work in Australia.

The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allows Australian and New Zealand citizens to live and work in each country respectively. As such, New Zealand citizens possess an Entitlement to Work in Australia upon entry into Australia.

What is involved in a background check for an MSIC?

AusCheck, a unit of the Attorney General's Department, is now responsible for coordinating the background checks of MSIC applicants and people who are involved in the issue of MSICs. The Background checking process includes an assessment of:
• A criminal records check undertaken by the Australian Federal Police, which is used to determine if an applicant has an adverse criminal record;
• A security assessment conducted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation; and,
• If the applicant is not an Australian citizen, confirmation that the applicant has a right to work in Australia.

How do I apply for an MSIC?

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure Australia) authorises organisations to serve as an approved MSIC Issuing Body. There are currently 21 authorised MSIC Issuing Bodies. Of these 21 issuing bodies:
• Three provide an international service in addition to their national service
• Four provide a nationwide service
• Six provide only a local service
• Eight provide only to their employees

What are MSIC Conditions of Use?

The following are conditions of use that an MSIC holders agrees to accept.[7]

From 1 January 2007 you must wear your MSIC in a maritime security zone unless you have an exemption. An MSIC must be:
• attached to your outer clothing
• above waist height
• on the front of your body
• with the whole MSIC clearly visible

You must keep your MSIC in a safe and secure location whilst not in use.

You must not alter or deface your MSIC.

Your MSIC is not transferable and can only be used by you.

You must return your MSIC within 30 days to the issuing body after it:
• expires;
• is cancelled;
• has been damaged, altered or defaced; or
• you no longer need to enter a maritime security zone.

If you change your name you must notify the body that issued the MSIC within 30 days. You will be issued with a replacement MSIC.

If your MSIC is lost or stolen, you will need to provide a statutory declaration or police report or other information issued by the police before a replacement card can be issued by an issuing body.

You will have committed an offence if your MSIC is lost, stolen or destroyed and you do not advise your issuing body within 7 days.

You will have committed an offence if you contravene the regulations on how and where and MSIC must be worn.

Further information on offences for contravening the MSIC regulations and their penalties can be found in the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Regulations 2005.[8]

Other Security Identification Programs (International)

United States - Transportation Worker Identification Credential (or TWIC). On 25 November 2002, Congress directed the federal government, through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (or MTSA), to issue a biometric security credential to individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels and all mariners holding Coast Guard issued credentials or qualification documents. Controlling access to secure areas is critical to enhancing port security.[9]

TWIC is a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker's biometric (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.



Infrastructure Australia
MSIC Issuing Body

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