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 Wednesday that Oct. 31, 2008, is the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program compliance date for owners and operators of facilities located within the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Zones of Buffalo, N.Y., Duluth, Minn., Detroit, Sault Ste. Marie, Wis., and Lake Michigan.
The newly announced compliance date is in addition to the Oct. 15, 2008, compliance date previously set for the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Zones of Boston, Northern New England and Southeastern New England.
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.
“Ensuring that only a vetted, credentialed population of workers has unescorted access to secure areas of our Nation’s ports marks another major milestone for this important security program,” said Maurine Fanguy, TWIC program director for TSA.
A framework showing expected compliance dates by Captain of the Port Zone is available on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Homeport Website 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.
“We need people to enroll now so this important port security initiative can be implemented and disruptions to maritime operations can be avoided as TWIC compliance begins across the country,” said Capt. Mark. P. O’Malley, Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Port and Facility Activities.
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 more than 130 fixed enrollment centers and dozens of mobile sites nationwide. more than 350,000 workers have enrolled to date and thousands more are processed each week.