ASHTABULA, Ohio – Today, port workers, longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Ashtabula will begin to enroll in the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The program's goal is to ensure that any individual who has unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels has received a thorough background check and is not a security threat.
Nationwide, more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply for TWIC by the end of 2008.
"The start of enrollment is one more step in our effort to prevent persons who are a threat from gaining access to secure areas of port facilities," said Maurine Fanguy, TWIC Program Director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the Port of Ashtabula for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
Ashtabula is the 63rd port to begin enrollment since the program began Oct. 16. Ultimately, established fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.
"TWIC is a critical initiative to bolster security and access control for the country," said Coast Guard Capt. Scott J. Ferguson, Sector Buffalo commander. "It is vital to our multifaceted risk-based approach to maritime domain awareness, ensuring the protection of facilities and our ports and vessels that ply our waters."
Workers at the Port of Ashtabula are able to pre-enroll for TWIC online at the Coast Guard's Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil. 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 each individual.