The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that the final compliance date for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program will be April 15, 2009, which reflects a realignment of the Sept. 25, 2008 compliance date set in the final rule. The seven month extension is a direct result of collaboration with port officials and industry, and realigns the enrollment period with the original intent of the TWIC final rule.
TWIC was established in the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the SAFE 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 on track to complete enrollment for a substantial number of jurisdictions by the end of 2008, and several ports will be required to comply with TWIC regulations this year.
Owners and operators of facilities located within Captain of the Port Zones Boston, Northern New England, and Southeastern New England will need to comply by October 15, 2008. These three ports were selected based on favorable conditions that facilitate near-term implementation. These ports are ideal for initial compliance based upon geographic proximity, the size of their TWIC enrollment population, and respective enrollment efforts to date. Additional ports will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Coast Guard will provide at least 90 days notice prior to enforcement.
The TWIC program is progressing steadily and has opened more than 100 fixed enrollment centers and dozens of mobile sites nationwide. More than 250,000 workers have enrolled to date and thousands more are processed each week. Enrollment began at the Port of Wilmington, Del. in October 2007.
Workers can pre-enroll online. Pre-enrollment can accelerate credentialing by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person. This eliminates delays at enrollment centers and reduces total enrollment time for each worker.
Although the compliance date has been extended seven months, workers are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible. Additional information can be found on the U.S. Coast Guardís Homeport site, and on the Transportation Security Administrationís web site.