ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – Port and long shore workers, truckers and others on the Island of St. Croix 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.
"The start of enrollment here 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 on the Island of St. Croix for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
St. Croix joins more than 100 sites in the mainland United States which have already rolled out TWIC. Ultimately, the program will be rolled out to 147 enrollment centers and will vet more than 1.2 million maritime transportation system workers through April 2009.
"The Transportation Worker Identification Credential will assist in improving Port Security through a common access control protocol that will ensure proper access to secure and restricted areas on waterfront facilities and vessels that are critical to the U.S. Virgin Islands," said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Carlos Torres, Sector San Juan chief of preventions.
A tremendous amount of planning and work has been done collectively by TSA, the Coast Guard, the maritime community and other stakeholders to ensure a successful and smooth transition in preparation for this critical phase of the TWIC program.
Workers in St. Croix 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 TWIC Enrollment Center is at Renaissance Park, Estate Anguilla, Kingshill, St. Croix, VI 00851-9999. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.