Transportation Worker Identification Credential enrollment deadline draws near

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard urges maritime workers who have not yet applied for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to apply as soon as possible before unescorted access to facilities in the Florida ports of Jacksonville, Fernandina, Fla., and Port Canaveral, Fla., is prohibited.

Starting December 1, port workers must have a TWIC to gain unescorted access to facilities in all Florida port facilities. A TWIC is required for any individual requiring unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities, such as vessel crewmembers, longshoremen, truckers, agents, railroad personnel and contractors.

It can take four to six weeks from the time of enrollment to the time that an applicant receives their TWIC, so port workers need to enroll as soon as possible to meet the December 1 enforcement date.

“It is important for all workers who need access into port facilities to apply for a TWIC now to minimize the impact on the local economy when we start enforcing the program just a few weeks from now.” Capt. Paul Thomas, Coast Guard captain of the port for Northeast and Central Florida ports.

The Coast Guard has been working with port facility operators to gauge the progress of TWIC enrollment leading up to the December 1 deadline. Port leaders estimated that 12,100 workers in the ports of Jacksonville, Fernandina and Port Canaveral would need to be enrolled, but the latest Transportation Security Administration figures show that fewer than 7,100 people have applied. In addition, local analysis shows that only 62 percent of truck drivers and service providers have their cards.

“We are particularly concerned with over the road truckers who transport goods to and from our ports. Those truckers without a TWIC could face significant delays getting onto a facility and could possibly be denied entry,” said Chuck White of the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Enforcement of TWIC is being implemented in stages throughout the country to avoid a rush to enroll. The December 1 deadline applies to the ports of South Carolina, Georgia, Jacksonville, Fla., and ports in Connecticut and Long Island, N.Y. To date, more than 576,000 people nationwide have applied for a TWIC.

Starting December 1, facility security personnel will verify that everyone entering the facility possesses a TWIC, and may turn away those without valid identification. While the new regulations allow people without TWIC cards to be escorted onto facilities under certain conditions, individuals should not expect security personnel to be available to conduct escorts.

“TWIC will serve as an important layer of security to safeguard the maritime transportation system. Our goal is to ensure that only workers who successfully undergo a complete security threat assessment are granted unescorted access into port facilities,” Thomas said. “If your livelihood is dependant upon access in port facilities, act now. Those that do not obtain a TWIC before December 1 will likely regret their decision the first time they incur significant delays getting into a facility or are denied entry.”

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.

Violations of the TWIC regulations 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 secured at a particular facility depending on the situation.

The address for the Jacksonville TWIC enrollment center is 955 Talleyrand Ave, Jacksonville, Fla.

To minimize waiting time at the enrollment center applicants may pre-enroll online at https://twicprogram.tsa.dhs.gov/TWICWebApp/.

Pre-enrollment allows workers to provide biographic information and to schedule a time to complete the application process in person.

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