Transportation Worker Identification Credential enrollment deadline draws near

BALTIMORE – 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 Maryland and Washington, D.C. ports are prohibited.

Starting Dec. 30, 2008 port workers must have a TWIC to gain unescorted access to all Maryland and Washington, D.C. 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, therefore, port workers need to enroll as soon as possible to meet the Dec. 30, enforcement date.

The Coast Guard has been working with port facility operators to gauge the progress of TWIC enrollment leading up to the Dec. 30, deadline. Port leaders estimated that 25,000 workers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. ports are directly linked to port-specific tasks, yet, the latest Transportation Security Administration figures show that fewer than 14,000 people have applied.

Enforcement of TWIC is being implemented in stages throughout the country to avoid a rush to enroll. The Dec. 30, deadline affects, among others, Baltimore and Annapolis, Md., Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pa., Camden, N.J., Gulfport, Miss., Memphis, Tenn., Cincinnati, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pa., and San Diego, Calif. To date, more than 576,000 people nationwide have applied for a TWIC.

Starting Dec. 30, 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.

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 civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation per day. In addition, operations could be secured at a particular facility depending on the situation.

The addresses for the Captain of the Port Baltimore TWIC enrollment centers are: 2200 Broening Hwy., Suite 220, Baltimore, Md; 3225 Old Washington Rd., Suite 2106, Waldorf, MD; and 212 West Main St., Suite 204C, Salisbury, Md.

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 schedule a time to complete the application process in person.

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