LA PLATA, Md. – Today, port workers, longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of La Plata 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 by the end 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 La Plata for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
La Plata is the 69th port to begin enrollment since the program began Oct. 16. 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 an essential tool used to strengthen security and access control in the Chesapeake Bay region," said Coast Guard Capt. Brian Kelley, Port of Baltimore. "It is part of our multi-layered risk-based approach to maritime security and will be used at thousands of maritime facilities and aboard vessels."
Workers at the Port of La Plata 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.