LOS ANGELES – Port and long shore workers, truckers and others at the ports of LA/Long Beach began to enroll in the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program today. The program ensures 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 during the rest of 2007 and 2008.
"Enrollment of TWIC candidates at LA/Long Beach is a huge step in the right direction for port facilities nationwide,"said Maurine Fanguy, the TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the ports of LA/Long Beach to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
The ports of LA/Long Beach are among the first 25 ports to begin enrollment in the nationwide program. Ultimately, TSA will establish fixed enrollment centers at 147 ports and will deploy mobile enrollment centers to dozens of other locations as needed.
"TWIC will be an important part of keeping this port secure,"said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Hamilton, Alternate Captain of the Port Los Angeles-Long Beach. "I consider every TWIC holder the Coast Guard's partner in port security."
"We are very supportive of the TWIC program as a major step in improving security at the Port of Long Beach," said Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. "TWIC will allow terminal operators to easily identify and monitor those who enter their facilities. Safety and security are top priorities at the Port of Long Beach, and the port welcomes this addition to our multi-layered, multi-agency strategy for improving security."
Workers at the ports of LA/Long Beach 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. The $132.25 fee may be paid using a check, Master Card or Visa.
Approximately 43 percent of the nation's cargo comes through the ports of LA/Long Beach and it is expected that approximately 60,000 of the combined ports' employees will have to apply and be approved for a TWIC card.
More information on the TWIC program is available at www.tsa.gov and more information on port security is available at the U.S. Coast Guard's Homeport site at http://homeport.uscg.mil by clicking on the Maritime Security link.