VICKSBURG, Miss. - Port workers, truckers and others at the Port of Vicksburg 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 at the Port of Vicksburg for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."
The Port of Vicksburg TWIC enrollment center joins the Port of Memphis and the Port of Catoosa and will be followed by the Port of Greenville and the Port of Little Rock in the near future, bringing the total number of fixed TWIC enrollment centers in the Sector Lower Mississippi River Captain of the Port Zone to five and nationwide to 72 sites. Ultimately, the program will be rolled out to 147 fixed enrollment centers and will vet more than 1 million workers through 2008.
"Access control is the cornerstone of security. TWIC enhances maritime security in the Port of Vicksburg, at facilities and on board vessels that are required to have a Coast Guard-approved security plan," said Coast Guard Port Security Specialist Phil Boruszewski. "TWIC helps prevent unauthorized individuals, weapons and dangerous substances from entering secure areas."
A tremendous amount of planning and work has been done collectively by TSA, the Coast Guard, the Western Mississippi Area Maritime Security Committee and other stakeholders to ensure a successful and smooth transition in preparation for this critical phase of the TWIC program.
Workers at the Port of Vicksburg 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 located at Ergon Refining, 227 Industrial Drive, Vicksburg, Miss. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Port of Vicksburg has 21 businesses and industries operating at the port and employing more than 4,000 employees. Each year, more than 400 million tons of cargo passes through this Port.