Few weeks ago I decided to renew my Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) via online appointment but I was not able to do so because their system was down at that time. So instead of waiting for their system to resume, I decided to take my Seaman’s Book renewal at SM Manila.
I went there around three in the afternoon to do some shopping, but for the sake of multi-tasking I also brought with me all documents required for renewing my Seaman’s Book. Check this post for the complete requirements for Seaman’s Book renewal. Take note that you should bring the original documents and photocopy of each.
What to expect during Seaman’s Book renewal at SM Manila?
Upon arrival at their office, I went to the reception area and asked the officer-in-charge for the requirements on renewing my Seaman’s Book. I was given an application form and I filled it up. Take note that you should bring your old Seaman’s Book and photocopy the front page and all records of sea service.
I prepared all my documents and placed it inside a long brown envelope. If you forgot to bring one don’t worry, it is being sold inside the office near the photocopying section. You also need to buy a documentary stamp which is also being sold there. After checking that my documents are all ready I went to the evaluation section. The officer-in-charge there will check if the requirements are all complete. If everything is OK, you will be directed to the cashier section. I paid Php 800 for regular processing of my SIRB.
After paying the prescribed amount, I was instructed to proceed to the photo/encoding section. But before that I went to the section where uniforms are being rented out for Php 20. I think you can bring your own but I’d rather pay the rent because it’s more convenient for me.
After they took my picture and reviewed my details to be encoded, I was given a claim stub with information about the date and time when I can obtain my renewed SIRB (it is actually three working days). The whole process from evaluation to encoding only took about thirty minutes and for me that was fast. I think the new system really works.
On the day of the scheduled release of my Seaman’s Book, I went to the releasing section and submitted the claim stub and waited for my name to be called. Then upon hearing my name, the officer-in-charge gave me my SIRB and instructed me to review first all the details on it before she can finally seal it (the seal is the plastic cover thing in front of the details page of the SIRB). If something is wrong with the details on your SIRB they can rectify it right away. So make sure to check every single information first.
After sealing my SIRB, the officer-in-charge offered an SIRB cover worth Php 50. I think it’s not necessary but I took it anyway because I felt good that day. Now that I think about it, approximately how many seafarers are renewing their SIRB daily? Perhaps, 200 or more? If all of them bought that cover, it is worth around Php 10,000 daily. Hmmm… That’s a very profitable business! Anyway, it is not my business. Maybe they are allowed to do that or are they? But the point is you can just say no if you don’t need it. Most likely your agency will remove that cover from your SIRB anyway.
So there it goes, my full experience on Seaman’s Book renewal at SM Manila. The processing is fast. The place is very practical and convenient. The officers are good, most of them i think. I should say the overall experience was great.