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 Tuesday that Jan. 13, 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 Hampton Roads, Va., Morgan City and New Orleans, La., Upper Mississippi River, and Miami, Key West and St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ports affected by the Jan. 13, 2009, deadline include, among others, Newport News, Va., Morgan City and Baton Rouge, La., St. Louis, Mo., and Miami, Key West and St. Petersburg, Fla.
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.
“Our goal has always been, and continues to be, to minimize the impact of this critical maritime security initiative on industry nationwide,” said Cmdr. David W. Murk, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cargo and Facilities Division. “To meet this goal as partners in this important undertaking, we need each and every TWIC eligible candidate to help by enrolling for their TWIC as early as possible. As more port compliance dates are rolled out, those who choose to wait until the last minute run the risk of not getting their TWIC prior to compliance deadlines.”
The Coast Guard plans to announce those additional ports scheduled 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.
A framework showing expected compliance dates by Captain of the Port Zone is available on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Homeport Web site at http://homeport.uscg.mil/twic.
Workers are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible and can pre-enroll for their TWIC online at www.tsa.gov/twic. 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 credentialed mariners and personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas within a port. The program is progressing steadily and has opened 150 fixed enrollment centers and dozens of mobile sites nationwide. More than 470,000 workers have enrolled to date and thousands more are processed each week.