UNB, Dhaka :The Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal for ratification of the ‘Maritime Labour Convention, 2006’ and the ‘Seafarers Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003’ seeking to ensure welfare of some 12,000 Bangladeshi seafarers through increase of their facilities.The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said there are some 12,000 Bangladeshi seafarers who work in local and foreign ships. Bangladesh has also 68 oceangoing ships and earns foreign currencies equivalent to Tk 500 crore annually.He said, Bangladeshi seafarers are currently facing various problems like joining foreign ships and staying abroad, getting shore leaves and other discriminations.Besides, the Cabinet Secretary said, the big foreign shipping agents often show reluctance in recruiting Bangladeshi seafarers.He informed that some 56 countries affiliated with the ILO have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 till January 23, 2014.Musharraf Hossain said congenial atmosphere and welfare, housing facilities, working hours and social safety of the seafarers are related with the above convention. The convention is applicable to the country of concerned sailors as well as the port states and flag states.In the Seafarers Identity Documents (SID) Convention (Revised), 2003, there will be basic information of the seafarers through biometric features including fingerprints, bar codes, photographs and machine readable zone.If a sailor has SID, it would be easier for him or her to get seashore leaves, changing his job to other ships. and returning to his or her own country.The Cabinet Secretary said that as many as 24 ILO affiliated countries have so far ratified the SID Convention.He said that the convention would not conflict with the existing labour laws as the foreign and shipping ministries have examined it. Besides, the tripartite consultative council in the labour sector has also recommended ratification of the SID Convention.