MUSKEGON, Mich. - Today, port workers, long shore workers, truckers and others working at the Port of Muskegon 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, TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the Port of Muskegon for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
With the addition of the Port of Muskegon, over 60 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 will be a crucial part of our multi-layered risk-based approach to maritime security," said Coast Guard Cmdr. Richard Reinemann. "It will strengthen security and access control to the port and on thousands of other maritime facilities and vessels." Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan and the Coast Guard Sector Field Office in Grand Haven, Mich., have worked closely with the maritime industry, including waterfront facility operators, licensed mariners and port representatives, over the past year in preparation for the TWIC enrollment roll-out.
Workers at the Port of Muskegon 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 Muskegon TWIC enrollment center is located at 800 East Ellis Road, Suite 122, Norton Shores, Mich. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.