Deadline for TWIC enforcement approaches quickly

PORTLAND, Ore. – Coast Guard Captain Fred Myer, the Captain of the Port of Portland, Ore., urges all maritime workers who have not yet enrolled for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to apply as soon as possible.

Beginning Feb. 28, 2009, maritime workers including terminal employees, longshoremen, truck drivers, agents and other maritime related activities must have a TWIC to gain unescorted access to secure areas of any waterfront terminal regulated by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act. Documented Merchant Mariners are required to have their TWIC no later than Apr. 15, 2009.

It can take four to six weeks from the time of enrollment to the time that an applicant receives a TWIC, so local maritime workers need to enroll no later than Jan. 15, 2009 to ensure that they receive their card before the Feb. 28th enforcement date.

There are five TWIC Enrollment Centers servicing the Coast Guard Sector Portland Area. These Centers are at the following locations:

Port of Coos Bay, OR: 400 Virginia Ave., Suite 112, North Bend, OR 97459-3477

Port of Longview, WA: 501 S. First Ave., Suite 201, Kelso, WA 98626-1631

Port of Pasco, WA: 2815 St Andrews Loop, Suite A, Pasco, WA 99301-3305

Port of Portland, OR: 7025 N. Lombard St. Suite 100, Portland, OR 97203-3203

Port of Vancouver, WA: 33rd Place Building, 3305 Main St, Ste 107, Vancouver, WA 98663-2234

For those Maritime workers who have enrolled but not yet picked up and activated their TWIC, it is very important that they do so as soon as possible. Records indicate that there are as many as 1800 TWIC cards ready to be picked up and activated at these local enrollment centers. Personnel who enrolled more than four weeks ago and have not picked up their TWIC should contact the enrollment center that processed their enrollment to determine if their TWIC is ready for pick up. Personnel can also go on line to the TWIC Enrollment web site at https://twicprogram.tsa.dhs.gov (Check Card Status) to determine if their TWIC is ready for pickup.

Starting Feb. 28, 2009, terminal and facility security personnel will verify that everyone entering facilities regulated under 33 CFR 105 possesses a TWIC, and may turn away those without a valid TWIC. While the new regulations allow people without TWIC cards to be escorted onto facilities under certain conditions, that process is up to the discretion of the facility owner operators. Individuals should not expect facilities to have personnel available to serve as escorts.

The Coast Guard will be responsible for enforcing TWIC rules, and will be assisted by facility owners, port police and other federal, state and local partners to achieve the security goals of the program. To ensure that all port facilities are complying with the TWIC requirements, Coast Guard and other law-enforcement agencies will conduct routine inspections and random spot checks.

Facilities that violate TWIC regulations may be subject to a variety of enforcement actions that range from on-site education and correction to letters of warning to civil penalties up to $25,000 per violation per day. In addition, operations could be suspended at a facility found not in compliance with TWIC requirements. Individuals who do not have a TWIC may be denied access to the facility. The Coast Guard strongly recommends that mariners not get caught in the last minute enrollment/activation rush as it will affect your ability to work or conduct business within the ports.

For more information, the TWIC Program Help Desk can be reached at 1-866-DHS-TWIC (1-866-347-8942). The help desk is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 12 a.m. EST. The TWIC Help Desk can also be contacted via email at credentialing@dhs.gov. For Coast Guard TWIC enforcement questions, please contact 1-877-MTSA-AID (1-877-687-2243). Local waterfront facilities may contact MTSC Scott Thoresen, USCG at (503) 240-9333.

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