No problems on first day of TWIC enforcement in Hawaii

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard reported a quiet first day of enforcement of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential in Hawaii and use of the biometric cards required for entry into maritime facilities is being called a “success” by port partners.

The new “smart card” is an ID issued by the Transportation Security Administration and is required for access to secure areas of maritime facilities. The cards were required by workers beginning with the 8 a.m. shift today at facilities on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island.

“All our ports here in Hawaii got off to a great start today,” said Capt. Barry Compagnoni, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu. “Of the 146 port employees randomly inspected by the Coast Guard today, 93 percent had their cards and the remaining personnel were enrolled in the system but simply hadn’t received their cards yet.”

State Department of Transportation officials reported to the Coast Guard some traffic delays at points such as Piers 1 and 2 and the Young Brothers facility – and at other parts of Nimitz Highway and Sand Island Road – where trucks were entering maritime facilities.

Compagnoni attributed the smooth start to cooperation and communication among federal and state officials, the maritime industry and labor unions. Hawaii’s stevedores and longshoremen were among the nation’s first to accept the new program and invited an enrollment center to the union hall.

“A lot of credit to the State of Hawaii’s Harbors Division and Hawaii’s major shippers for their extensive outreach and education efforts and the cooperation of our maritime workers to get their cards in advance,” Compagnoni said.

Required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act, Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC’s) are biometric ID cards that are required to gain access to secure areas of commercial vessels and facilities. Applicants must undergo a background check in order to obtain a TWIC. Honolulu opened one of the first enrollment centers in the nation in November 2007, and centers were opened on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island a few weeks later.

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