TWIC compliance deadline drawing near for South Florida Ports

MIAMI – The Coast Guard urges maritime workers who have not yet applied for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential to apply as soon as possible before unescorted access to U.S.-regulated waterfront terminals in South Florida including the ports and terminals of Palm Beach, Fla., Fort Pierce, Fla., Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Miami, and the Miami River is prohibited.

Beginning Jan. 13, 2009, maritime workers including terminal employees, longshoremen, truck drivers, agents and contractors 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.

It can take four to six weeks from the time of enrollment to the time that an applicant receives their TWIC, so maritime workers need to enroll as soon as possible to meet the Jan. 13 enforcement date.

“TWIC will serve as an important layer of security to safeguard the maritime transportation system,” said Capt. Jim Fitton, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami and Captain of the South Florida Ports. “It is important that people enroll now so that we do not see impacts to employees or the local economy when enforcement begins in South Florida in January.”

Enforcement of TWIC is being implemented in stages throughout the country to avoid a rush to enroll. The Jan. 13 deadline applies to all Coast Guard regulated terminals from Fenholloway River, Fla., southward to Key West, Fla., on the west coast of Florida and continuing northward to include Melbourne Beach, Fla., on the east coast of Florida. To date, more than 590,000 people nationwide have applied for a TWIC.

Starting Jan. 13, terminal or facility security personnel will verify that everyone entering facilities regulated under 33 CFR 105 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 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 enrollment centers may be found at
http://twicinformation.tsa.dhs.gov/twicinfo/schedule.jsp

To view additional information regarding TWIC, visit the Coast Guard’s Homeport web site 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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