Deadline for new port security measures approaching in New York/New Jersey

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard plans to enforce new security measures at facilities in the Port of New York/New Jersey (PONYNJ) and the Port of Albany, NY as mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act) starting March 23, 2009.

Regulations require that all personnel needing unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities carry a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) as an additional means of security in America’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 U.S. Transportation Security Administration security threat assessment. They will be required to present the credentials for unescorted access to secure areas of facilities.

“Over the past 15 months, Coast Guard personnel have collaborated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the U.S, facility owners and operators, as well as truckers, vendors, contractors and other port stakeholders to ensure that they were working diligently toward compliance,” said Capt. Robert R. O’Brien, Commander, Sector New York and Captain of the PONYNJ. “Everyone’s goal is to ensure the safe and secure flow of commerce through these port facilities and this new security measure will do just that.”

Today, 36 of the 42 Captain of the Port zones across the country already require workers to have a TWIC. Port security personnel are trained to ensure workers have valid TWIC cards and Coast Guard officials are conducting routine announced and unannounced compliance inspections.

Since Dec. 27, 2007, Coast Guard Sector New York staff in conjunction with the PONYNJ Area Maritime Security Committee leadership, have spoken about the TWIC at over 50 open forums attended by trucking industry representatives, port partner agencies, mariners and facility personnel.

Coast Guard officials in the PONYNJ and Port of Albany have already completed 115 facility inspections since August 2008.

Over 1 million of an estimated nationwide population of 1.2 million port and longshore workers, truckers and others at ports across the nation have already enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s TWIC program. Of that number over 71,000 work in the PONYNJ and Port of Albany. This highly mobile workforce has used a nationwide network of 150 fixed and 450 mobile enrollment centers in order to register and obtain their TWIC cards.

Owners and operators of facilities may provide escorts to secure areas for individuals who do not yet have a 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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