Members trading to the United States of America should be aware of a big security initiative being launched by the US Coastguard in March 2007.
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program is a Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard initiative to provide tamper-resistant identity cards to maritime workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and other secure areas, including ships within ports.
The rule which lays out the process for issuance and initial use of TWIC cards comes into effect on 26th March 2007. The enrolment process will commence in a small number of ports, with gradual expansion nationwide. The requirement for facilities to limit unescorted access to secure areas to persons holding valid TWIC cards will come into effect based upon notifications to be published in the Federal Register.
Persons seeking unescorted access to secure areas aboard affected ships (as well as all USCG-credentialed merchant mariners) must possess a valid TWIC card no later than 25th September 2008.
Crew members on foreign-flag ships will not need TWIC cards, but can expect further restrictions concerning going ashore without an escort.
The program’s goals are:
· Positively identify authorized individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system
· Determine the eligibility of an individual to be authorized unescorted access to secure areas of the maritime transportation system
· Enhance security by ensuring that unauthorized individuals are denied unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system
· Identify individuals who fail to maintain their eligibility qualifications after being permitted unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system and revoke the individual’s permissions.
Full details of the programme can be found on the Transport Security Administration website www.tsa.gov/twic.
Source of information:
Thomas Miller (Americas) Inc.
Tel: +1 201 557 7300