SAULT SAINTE MARIE, Mich. – Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Sault Sainte Marie today 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 during the rest 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, the TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the Port of Sault Sainte Marie for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
With the addition of the Port of Sault Sainte Marie, 72 ports are currently enrolling people through the program, which began on Oct. 16, 2007. 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 crucial part of our multi-layered approach to maritime security to ensure that people gaining access to our maritime infrastructure are not a threat," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Chris Friese. "The enrollment centers have been opening for several months in areas all across the country to facilitate early enrollment. I encourage anyone who will need a TWIC to enroll now, well in advance of the nationwide compliance date."
Workers at the Port of Sault Sainte Marie 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.
The Port of Sault Sainte Marie TWIC enrollment center is at 511 Ashmun, 2nd Floor. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.