TWIC- Two Months Left and a Long Way to Go

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – With only 60 days before the compliance deadline for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential also known as “TWIC,” maritime transportation workers to date are very slow to enroll.

Starting April 14, 2009 maritime transportation workers, including terminal employees, longshoremen, truck drivers, agents and contractors without a TWIC card will be denied unescorted access to U.S. regulated waterfront terminals and vessels in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Port Hueneme. Failing to enroll now will adversely affect maritime transportation workers’ ability to conduct business within the ports. A TWIC card is required for those transportation workers and other persons that require unescorted access to secure areas on vessels or facilities. In most cases, escorting for transportation workers such as employees, longshoremen, mechanics, and truckers is not an option. These persons due to the nature of their work, such as driving on a facility or working around cranes and other heavy equipment, are not able to meet the stringent escort standards. Additionally, for vendors and delivery drivers it is advantageous to have a TWIC card to minimize delays of their service.

With only two months before the deadline the Coast Guard is aggressively reaching out to stakeholders by conducting meetings, security forums, and distributing information bulletins. This week the local Coast Guard here in San Pedro hosted meetings with the owners and operators of small passenger vessel and Maritime Transportation Security Act regulated vessels to discuss vessel security and TWIC. Polling conducted at this week’s vessel conferences was promising, showing upwards of 86% enrollment within this demographic.

It is estimated that 67,000 maritime transportation workers are affected by the TWIC requirement. To date, about 39,000 or 58% maritime transportation workers enrolled in TWIC and about 45% have been issued a card.

It can potentially take a minimum of four to six weeks from the time of enrollment for an applicant to receive a TWIC card; therefore, maritime transportation workers need to register as soon as possible to meet the April 14, 2009 compliance date. Recent public outreach has exposed a misconception that a person’s receipt for enrollment is equivalent to possessing a TWIC card for facility or vessel access, when this is not the case. A receipt of enrollment or paperwork confirming completion of an initial background check does not equate to having a TWIC card.

In the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach there are two fixed enrollment centers located at:

301 E. Ocean Blvd. Suite 500, Long Beach CA, 90802

1001 New Dock St. San Pedro, CA 90731

There is also an additional facility located at:

1251 N. Rice Ave. Oxnard CA, 93030

For more information, the TWIC Program Help Desk can be reached at 1-866-DHS-TWIC 1-866-347-8942. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 12 a.m. EST. The TWIC Help Desk can also be contacted via email at credentialing@dhs.gov. For U.S. Coast Guard TWIC enforcement questions, please contact 1-877-MTSA-AID 1-877-687-2243.

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