Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting Twitchy about TWIC

The Puget Sound chapter of the National Defense Transportation Association's (NDTA) February meeting about Transportation Security & TWIC filled the Port of Tacoma's meeting room at the Fabulich Business Center today.

Doubtless, with this Saturday's imposition of the TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Credentialing), all those with maritime interactions are realizing preparatory time is fast running out. Given the questions from attendees to the panelists:

....whatever preparation remains to be done is only matched by concern about how things will actually work.

By way of background, panelists swagged that 32,000 TWIC cards were estimated to be necessary regionally when the program was envisioned. To date, 31,286 cards have been activated, 3,340 are ready for activation. Of those, the Seattle administering office will be issuing either first or second notices for pickup.

For those concerned about past transgressions, panelists stated there were only four offenses that would permanently disqualify someone from receiving a card:

  1. espionage
  2. sedition
  3. treason
  4. terrorism

It was stated that of the pool of ~950,000, only 113 have been disqualified. And, given this late date before first implementation, it was estimated that cards could be received in 3 days - two weeks by native-born, U.S. citizens with clean records. Otherwise, background checks would typically take ~ two months.

And how will it all work for those showing up without TWIC cards, for foreign citizenry workers, ships crews, one-time delivery or pickup (by individual citizens or out-of-state, long-haul truckers), etc. - it all depends on the individual facility's USCG-approved security plan.

If you show up Saturday not TWIC-carded, prepare for delays and potentially refusals to accept or deliver cargo. The TWIC Help Desk is 1-866-347-8942.

Workers are able to pre-enroll for TWIC online or the Coast Guard's Homeport site. Pre-enrolling speeds up the process by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person. This eliminates waiting at enrollment centers and reduces the time it takes to enroll.

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