Transportation Worker Identification Credential enrollment deadline draws near

CHARLESTON, S.C. – 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 South Carolina ports, including the ports of Charleston and Georgetown is prohibited.

Starting December 1, port workers must have a TWIC to gain unescorted access to facilities in all South Carolina 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, 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 do not already have a TWIC to enroll now so that we do not see impacts to people or the local economy when we start enforcing the program just a few weeks from now,” said Capt. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard Captain of the Port for South Carolina.

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 15,000 workers in South Carolina would need to be enrolled, but according to the Transportation Security Administration, fewer than 5,900 people have applied. In addition, local analysis shows that only 30 percent of truck drivers and service providers have their cards.

“In less than seven weeks, anyone that needs regular access to the Ports Authority’s terminals must have a TWIC card,” said Byron Miller of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. “We are particularly concerned about truck drivers and others that routinely work on the terminals. On December 1, if you don’t have a TWIC, you will not get on the terminal. The clock is ticking, and the time to enroll is now. ”

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.

“We will not provide escort to non-TWIC personnel. Non-TWIC personnel will be turned away at the gate,” said Chief L. M. Rinaldi, State Ports Authority Police.

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.

“TWIC will serve as an important layer of security to safeguard the maritime transportation system. Our goal is to reduce the security risk in our valuable port facilities by only giving access to people who have undergone complete background checks,” said McAllister. “But if your livelihood is linked to the ports, act now to ensure you have your TWIC on time in order to continue your work without interruption.”

The address for the Charleston TWIC enrollment center is Suite 115, 3236 Landmark Drive, North Charleston, S.C., 29418.

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.

To view additional information regarding TWIC, visit the Coast Guard’s Homeport Website at http://homeport.uscg.mil/twic, or the Transportation Security Administration’s web site at http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/twic/index.shtm.

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