TWIC compliance dates set for Alaska, Hawaii mariners

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration announced today that Feb. 12, 2009, is the Transportation Worker Identification Credential compliance date for owners and operators of facilities located within the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Zones of Honolulu, Hawaii, Prince William Sound, Alaska, Southeast Alaska and Western Alaska.
All ports in the state of Hawaii and the state of Alaska are affected by the Feb. 12, 2009, deadline including, among others: Barbers Point, Hawaii, and Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage, Kodiak and Valdez, Alaska.
Mariners may use their valid Coast Guard-issued merchant mariner’s document, license or certificate of registry, along with a valid photo ID, to be eligible for unescorted access in secure areas of any facility regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 that has a TWIC compliance date earlier than April 15, 2009.  The date by which owners and operators of vessels and outer continental shelf facilities must implement access control procedures utilizing TWIC is also April 15, 2009.
Owners and operators of facilities regulated under MTSA are responsible for notifying employees of their personal responsibility to apply for and maintain a TWIC.  The TWIC final rule, published Jan. 25, 2007, also requires owners and operators of MTSA regulated facilities to inform employees of the deadlines and methods for TWIC application.
“The Coast Guard continues to closely monitor and encourage TWIC enrollment by working collaboratively with owners and operators of MTSA regulated facilities and vessels as we approach compliance milestones with a steadfast commitment to protect the maritime transportation system while still facilitating commerce,” said Cmdr. David W. Murk, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cargo and Facilities Division.
The Coast Guard plans to announce additional dates for the compliance phase of the TWIC program in coming weeks.  Compliance will be phased in by Captain of the Port Zones between Oct. 15, 2008, and April 15, 2009, after which all ports must be in compliance and all credentialed mariners must be in possession of a TWIC.
Workers are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible and can pre-enroll for their TWIC online at  Pre-enrollment speeds up the process by allowing workers to provide biographic information and to schedule a time to complete the application process in person.  The pre-enrollment process reduces the time it takes to fully enroll in the TWIC program and eliminates waiting at enrollment centers.
TWIC was established in the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act to serve as an identification program for all Coast Guard credential mariners and personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas within a port.  The program is progressing steadily; all fixed enrollment centers are open and dozens of mobile sites have been deployed nationwide.  More than 514,000 workers have enrolled to date and thousands more are processed each week.
Additional information and a framework showing expected compliance dates by Captains of the Port Zone is available on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Homeport Web site at  Captain of the Port Zone maps with ports annotated are available on that Web site under General Information, COTP Zone Maps. For more information call 1-866-DHS-TWIC (1-866-347-8942) or 1-877-MTSA-AID (1-877-687-2243).
By Professional Mariner Staff