Vancouver, Wash. port begins TWIC enrollment
Federal homeland security officials on Monday began Transportation Worker Identification Credential enrollment for workers at the Washington state Port of Vancouver.
The enrollment marks the last major West Coast port to begin registering workers for the security cards. Two additional California ports remain on the DHS schedule with the California port of Eureka to begin TWIC registration on July 16 and the Port of Stockton to begin on Aug. 13.
The Department of Homeland Security program requires that all individuals requiring unescorted access to the ports and port facilities have a TWIC identification card. Workers at the port needing the credential have 90 days from the start of enrollment to apply. To obtain the TWIC identification card, workers must pay a $132 application fee, be fingerprinted, and pass a federal background security check.
Established by Congress in 2002 through the Maritime Transportation Security Act, the TWIC program began implementation in January 2007 with the development of a biometric identification card and application process. In mid-October, 2007, the DHS working through the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, began a phased enrollment at different port locations throughout the nation. To date more than 85 ports have begun enrollment of workers in the plan and the TSA expects to have all 147 ports included in the program begin enrollment by the end of September.
In March, DHS moved the final compliance date for workers to obtain the TWIC card to April 15, 2009. Operators of maritime and other facilities falling under the TWIC guidelines must have access controls in place to read the cards by the same date.
The DHS originally estimated that about 1 million workers were expected to apply for TWIC by the end of 2008. However, USCG estimates suggest that the actual number of workers who will need to have a TWIC card could be as high as 1.5 million.
According to current TSA tallies, less than 200,000 workers across the nation have already registered for the TWIC credential with another 250,000 maintaining a pre-enrollment status.