Coast Guard reports high compliance rate in advance of TWIC enforcement

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard reports this week high compliance rates at ports in Hawaii and American Samoa where port workers will be required to have a Transportation Workers Identification Credential, or TWIC card, by Feb. 12, 2009.

Port workers holding U.S. Coast Guard licenses or merchant mariners documents are required to obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Credential, also known as a “TWIC card,” if they access secure areas of waterfront facilities.

The card is an effort by the federal government to improve security in the nation’s ports and the program is being instituted by the Transportation Security Administration, but the Coast Guard will be responsible for enforcement.

The deadline for mariners in Hawaii and American Samoa is April 15, 2009.

“With just more than two weeks to go, the process is going very well,” said Capt. Barry Compagnoni, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu, and the senior officer responsible for enforcement in Hawaii and American Samoa.

“We have reached out to industry and worked with companies to ensure everyone is aware and will comply by Feb. 12. This card is another layer of security at our ports and it will be an effective tool in increasing our level of vigilance among those who do business on our waterways.”

The TWIC is a tamper resistant ‘smart card’ that will contain a fingerprint template and is issued by the TSA through a contractor. An estimated 1 million workers in the maritime transportation industry will be required to obtain the cards. This includes all Coast Guard credentialed merchant mariners and many longshoremen, truck drivers and port facility employees.

In Hawaii, approximately 2,035 port workers are required to have the card and more than 1,912 (almost 94 percent) already have it. In American Samoa, 720 are required to have it and more than 525 (or almost 73 percent) are enrolled.

The numbers by island in Hawaii:

* Oahu: 1,492 required to have the card; 1,412 enrolled (or 94 percent)
* Big Island: 266 required, 235 enrolled (or 95 percent)
* Kauai: 93 required, 90 enrolled (or 96 percent)
* Maui: 163 required, 161 enrolled (or 99 percent)
* Molokai: 12 required, 12 enrolled (100 percent)
* Lanai: 9 required, 3 enrolled (33 percent)

“While the numbers are good for the larger companies who do business on the water, we recognize there are still some smaller entities out there and we want to reach them now while the heavy focus is on enrollment,” Compagnoni said.

Applications for TWIC cards can be done in person at one of four offices throughout the state. Mariners may contact offices in Honolulu at 808-955-3790, in Hilo at 808-935-9795, on Maui at 808-249-8397, or on Kauai at 808-246-8670. Hours at the offices have been extended meet customer demand.

Hours at the Kauai TWIC Enrollment Center (2970 Kele St., Suite 111, Lihue, HI 96766) and Kahului (291 Hookahi St., Suite 106, Wailuku, HI 96793) are Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Honolulu (1347 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 204, Honolulu, HI 96814), and in Hilo (630 Kilauea Ave., Suite 104, Hilo, HI 96742), the hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

These hours will be effect until close of business Friday, Feb. 27.

The application process can be expedited by entering the required information online at prior to visiting the office. As part of the application process, mariners will be subject to a security threat assessment background check. The fee for the card is $132.50 and the credential is valid for five years.

Mariners may visit or call 866-347-8942 for more information about TWIC.

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