LAKE CHARLES, La. – Today, port workers, longshoremen, truckers and others at the Port of Lake Charles 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 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 Lake Charles for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
Lake Charles is among the first 16 ports to begin enrollment in the nationwide program. Ultimately, fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.
"Local Coast Guard and TSA partners have worked together daily to prepare for the implementation of TWIC in the Lake Charles/Cameron area," said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Buddy Reams. "The communication with stakeholders has been positive and is time well spent in preparing everyone for the enrollment and compliance phase of the TWIC program."
Workers at the Port of Lake Charles 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 Port of Lake Charles is the 12th largest seaport in the U.S. The principal cargoes moving through the port's terminals are bagged rice, flour and other food products, forest products, aluminum, petroleum coke and other petroleum products, woodchips, barites, and rutile.