The programme’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. Thousands of workers are expected to enroll over the coming months at the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle, which begins enrolment in mid-December.
Across the US, more than 1m workers will apply during the rest of 2007 and in 2008. Ultimately, enrolment centres will be put in place at 147 ports, along with mobile centres at dozens of other locations.
“The start of enrolment 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 programme director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). “We appreciate the support of our partners at the Port of Tacoma for helping to make one of the world’s most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality.”
“TWIC will be a crucial part of our multi-layered risk-based approach to maritime security. It will strengthen security and access control to the port and on thousands of other maritime facilities and vessels,” said Coast Guard Commander Mark McCadden, chief of prevention at Sector Seattle.