Department of Homeland Security’s TWIC
gains solid footing in the maritime community
By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent
Layers of Security
sonnel, who compare the holder to
his or her photo, inspect security
features on the TWIC and evaluate
the card for signs of tampering.
With regard to mariners, the
TWIC program fits into the overall
scheme of enhanced maritime domain awareness, said Capt. Kevin
C. Kiefer, chief, Port and Facility
Activities, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.
“It is definitely making our
secure areas, our higher-risk areas,
more secure and safe,” he said.
“It is all about the layered security approach,” added Cmdr. David
The TWIC program provides a tamper-resistant biometric identification to maritime workers and all U.S.
Coast Guard-credentialed Merchant Mariners who
require unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act
(MTSA) of 2002, which mandated the program.
TWIC was established by Congress through the
MTSA with the TWIC Final Rule, published in the
Federal Register on Jan. 25, 2007, setting forth regula-tory requirements to implement the program initially
within the maritime community.
The TWIC program is administered by TSA, which
issues the credential, conducts the enrollment process
at more than 140 enrollment centers nationwide,
maintains the data on all of the applicants and conducts basic systems management. Because of the
requirement to introduce the TWIC within the mar-
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), or
card, is required for Merchant Mariners, port facility employees,
long-shore workers, truck drivers and others who access secure
areas of security-regulated maritime facilities and vessels.
■ Those credentialed represent a fully vetted work force whose
eyes and ears contribute to maritime domain awareness.
■ TWIC is jointly managed by the Transportation Security
Administration and the Coast Guard.
■ The card must be presented at more than 3,200 U.S. maritime
facilities and 10,000 vessels to gain access.
More than 1 million licensed mariners have been issued a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) under a
program jointly managed by the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast
Guard that has been phased in over the past two years.
The TWIC program eventually will be introduced to
all of the nation’s security-sensitive transportation sectors, including airports, railroads, chemical plants and
refineries, as part of a Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) initiative to collect data on the nation’s
transportation workers for improved port security.
To receive a TWIC, mariners must undergo a thorough background check that includes a security threat
assessment. Among those now required to obtain a
TWIC are licensed and documented Merchant
Mariners, port facility employees, long-shore workers,
truck drivers and others who are allowed unescorted
access to secure areas of security-regulated maritime
facilities and vessels.
The card must be presented at more than 3,200 U.S.
maritime facilities and 10,000 vessels to gain access.
TWIC holders present their cards to authorized per-