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StarBulletin.com

Port card deadline looms


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POSTED: Saturday, February 07, 2009

Almost 95 percent of port workers who are required to enroll for a new biometric security card to access Hawaii ports have complied with the new federal rules, but deadlines are looming for stragglers.

               

     

 

STILL NEED A SECURITY CARD?

        » Mariners who still need to obtain Transportation Workers Identification Credential cards may contact TWIC Enrollment Centers in Honolulu at 955-3790, in Hilo at 935-9795, on Maui at 249-8397, or on Kauai at 246-8670. Office hours at these sites have extended from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Feb. 27 to meet demand. The Honolulu and Hilo offices are open Monday through Friday, and the Kahului and Kauai offices are open Monday through Thursday.
       

  » The application process can be expedited by entering required information online at https://twicprogram.tsa.dhs.gov prior to visiting the office. Mariners may visit www.twicinformation.com or call (866) 347-8942 for more information.

       

Source: U.S. Coast Guard

       

       

Beginning Thursday, port workers in Hawaii and American Samoa will be required to have a Transportation Workers Identification Credential, or TWIC, card. The deadline for mariners in Hawaii and American Samoa is April 15. The fee for the card is $132.50 and the credential is valid for five years.

The TWIC is a tamper-resistant “;smart card”; that contains a fingerprint template and is issued by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration through a contractor. Port company, vessel and facility security officers and personnel responsible for security duties are required to get a card. Workers who go into secured port areas, such as mariners, truckers and agents, also must obtain the card.

  The card is a post-9/11 effort by the federal government to improve security in U.S. ports. The program is being instituted by the TSA, but the U.S. Coast Guard will be responsible for enforcement.

“;This card is another layer of security at our ports, and it will be an effective tool in increasing our level of vigilance among those who do business on our waterways,”; said Capt. Barry Compagnoni, the Coast Guard captain responsible for enforcement in Hawaii and American Samoa.

An estimated 2,035 workers from Hawaii's maritime transportation industry will be required to obtain the cards along with approximately 18,000 workers with Matson Navigation Co., Horizon Lines Inc., Young Brothers Ltd., and other companies on the waterfront, said Lt. John Tichen, the District 14 external affairs officer for the Coast Guard in Honolulu.

“;With just more than two weeks to go, the process is going very well,”; Compagnoni said.

The Coast Guard has reached out to the industry in Hawaii and worked with companies to ensure everyone will be in compliance by the deadline, he said.

“;While the numbers are good for the larger companies who do business on the water, we recognize there are still some smaller entities out there, and we want to reach them now while the heavy focus is on enrollment,”; Compagnoni said.

The Coast Guard will do annual inspections and spot checks to ensure that those who are required to carry the cards have them, said Chief Petty Officer Chad Saylor, a public affairs officer for Coast Guard District 14.

“;Penalties can range from on-site education and correction to letters of warning or civil penalties up to $25,000 per day and cessation of operations,”; Saylor said. “;The penalties will be implemented on a case-by- case basis; however, we want to take a proactive and educational approach.”;

Applications for the cards can be done in person at one of four offices throughout the state.

The TSA estimates a three-to-four week turnaround from enrollment until card activation. Eligibility issues or insufficient paperwork may increase that time.

“;The process involves filling out paperwork and posing for a picture and having fingerprints taken,”; Tichen said. “;It's akin to getting a driver's license that is good only for the port.”;

An individual who lacks lawful presence and certain immigration status in the United States, has a connection to terrorist activity, has been determined to lack mental capacity or was convicted of certain crimes will be ineligible.