Deadline approaching for enforcement of new security measures at Great Lakes port facilities

CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard is set to enforce new security measures at port facilities located on the Great Lakes Oct. 31, 2008, as mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act.

Regulations require that all personnel needing unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities carry Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) as an additional means of security in America’s ports. The TWIC program balances the need for a free flow of commerce with the need to maintain a strong, layered approach to security in our nation’s ports.

To obtain a TWIC, an individual must provide biographic and biometric information such as fingerprints, sit for a digital photograph, and successfully pass a TSA security threat assessment. They will be required to present the credentials for unescorted access to secure areas of facilities.

Since Jan. 25, 2007, Coast Guard Captains of the Port (COTP) in the Buffalo, Detroit, Lake Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie and Duluth zones have been working with port facilities in an effort to make the transition to the new requirements as seamless as possible. Owners and operators of the facilities in these COTP zones must comply by Oct. 31, 2008.

Coast Guard personnel have collaborated with TSA, facility owners and operators, as well as truckers, vendors, contractors and other port stakeholders to ensure they are working toward compliance. The goal is to ensure the safe and secure flow of commerce through these port facilities as this new access control security measure is added to the MTSA requirements that have been in effect since 2004.

The Coast Guard will conduct routine announced and unannounced spot checks to ensure that owners and operators of MTSA regulated facilities are complying with the applicable TWIC regulations. Owners and operators of facilities may provide escorts to secure areas for individuals who do not yet have a TWIC.

Port facility operators shall contact their local Coast Guard COTP if they have any TWIC compliance concerns. As a reminder, the Oct. 31st date applies to facilities only. Merchant mariners have until April 15, 2009 to comply with TWIC.

To learn where and how to enroll, call the TWIC enrollment hotline at 1-866-347-8942 or go to the Web site www.tsa.gov/twic.

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