Coast Guard conducts surge operation in Port of Hampton Roads, Va.

Hampton Roads MASFONORFOLK, Va. – The Coast Guard, along with other federal, state and local agencies, conducted a joint operation at Hampton Roads port facilities Tuesday and Wednesday.

Inspections were conducted at the Norfolk International Terminal, AP Moller-Maersk facility and Portsmouth Marine Terminal. Similar joint operations were simultaneously conducted at the Maryland Port Administration’s Seagirt and Dundalk Marine Terminals.

Agencies that took part in the Hampton Roads operation included: The Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, National Cargo Bureau, Virginia International Terminal Port Police VPA, Virginia Emergency Management division, Hampton Police Department, Chesapeake Police Department, Norfolk Police Department and the Norfolk Fire Department and HAZMAT team.

The focus of the operation was to promote awareness and verify compliance with federal and state intermodal container, truck, air, rail and hazardous material safety regulations.

The Coast Guard, along with federal, state and local agencies, discovered two truck drivers with revoked credentials while conducting a joint operation that started Tuesday and ended today at Port of Hampton Roads’ terminals.

The truck drivers had revoked Transportation Worker Identification Credentials and had their access to Virginian ports pulled.

“We have a portable TWIC reader,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Anderson, a marine-science technician in the Port Safety and Security Branch of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “We use the portable TWIC reader, which also has a biometrics reader, to scan the card and match it up with the driver’s fingerprint. We ran both the individuals who had the revoked cards.”

“We are letting truck drivers and mariners know now that their card is either revoked or having issues with the fingerprints,” added Anderson. “So that in 2011, when the whole system goes completely on-line, they’ll still be allowed to go in the terminals. But we’re also ensuring that if it is revoked they go and pick up a new one now.”

Inspections on containers and trucks entering and leaving the Port of Hampton Roads are frequently conducted by individual agencies focusing on a specific part of the overall safety picture, but this multi-agency strike force operation is one in a series of similar initiatives conducted in ports nationwide since September 1998 that brings the whole picture together and reduces the inspection time delay for shippers.

This joint operation is coordinated between agencies employing their individual jurisdictions side-by-side, so that shipments can be simultaneously inspected for compliance with all applicable requirements.

The operation involved the inspection of trucks as they entered and left the marine terminals with shipments from both domestic and international locations. Inspections included verifying proper truck and container documentation, structural integrity of shipping containers, licensing, customs and fuel tax compliance and hazardous material markings, packaging and segregation.

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