Sector North Carolina to begin TWIC enforcement Friday

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard is set to enforce new security measures at port facilities in Wilmington and Morehead City, N.C., Nov. 28, 2008, as mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act. As part of a phased-in approach, North Carolina ports will be expected to implement the more restrictive security access procedures ahead of the nationally final compliance date of April 15, 2009. Ports in New England have already come into compliance.

Regulations require that all personnel needing unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities carry Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) as an additional means of security in America’s ports. Generally speaking, an MTSA facility is a port facility visited by commercial ships that travel foreign, handling large quantities of oil and hazardous materials, and is a passenger terminal visited by ships capable of carrying over 150 passengers.

To obtain 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 Captain of the Port in North Carolina have been working with port facilities in an effort to make the transition to the new requirements as seamless as possible.

“The additional national security measures provided by the TWIC enhance our collective ability to deter access to areas where persons could cause us harm. Port facility owners, truckers, vendors, contractors and other port stakeholders have demonstrated a tremendous effort to obtain these credentials,” said Captain David Lersch, Chief of the Coast Guard Fifth District Prevention Division. “Working together our goal is to promote the safe and secure flow of commerce through these ports; complimented by a myriad of security requirements that are enhanced by the TWIC.”

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.

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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