WILMINGTON, Del. - Tomorrow, port workers, longshoremen, truckers and others at the Port of Wilmington, Del., become the first in the nation 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.
Approximately 5,000 workers are expected to enroll at the Port of Wilmington. Nationwide, more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply during the rest of 2007 and 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 Wilmington for helping make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
The start of enrollment follows a number of recent developments in the program, including the release of specifications for the card reader pilot and the announcement of the next 11 ports where enrollment will begin in November.
"TWIC will be a crucial part of our multi-layered risk based approach to maritime security," said Coast Guard Captain Mark O'Malley. "It will strengthen security and access control at the Port of Wilmington and on thousands of other maritime facilities and vessels."
Workers at the Port of Wilmington were able to pre-enroll for TWIC starting October 9. A link to the pre-enrollment Web site is available 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.
Founded in 1923, the Port of Wilmington is a full-service Mid-Atlantic seaport strategically located to provide overnight access to 200 million North American consumers. Wilmington ranks as the world's top ports for banana imports and is the nation's leading gateway for imports of fresh fruit and juice concentrates. An economic engine for Delaware and the region, it is responsible for over 19,000 jobs, $409 million in business revenue and $28 million in annual local taxes. The port is owned and operated by the Diamond State Port Corporation.