My TWIC enrollment experience – less that stellar

It comes as no surprise that we in the United States are security aware. Possible threats create new legislation on a regular basis. Today, I enrolled for my Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC.) The office was due to be opened at 08:00. Here’s what happened.

07:57 I arrive at the Anacortes Wa. enrollment location, 5 miles from my home.

08:07 Worker #1 arrives and apologizes for being late.

08:11 Worker #2 arrives

08:12 Workers #1 and #2 discuss if the computer is up an running

(they are subcontractors to Lockheed Martin who is a subcontractor to TSA)

08:12 Second enrollee arrives for a 08:15 appointment

Workers indicate enrollee #2 will be served first (I preenrolled before appointments were offered)

08:13 Phone call is placed stating, “There are workers here to be enrolled.”

08:19 Lockheed Martin supervisor of the enrollment site arrives and unlocks the computer

08:28 Second enrollee is seated for an interview

08:45 Second enrollee’s interview is completed

08:48 I am seated for the interview

My credit card is charged the $132.50 fee

Information on my pre-enrollment form is confirmed

Finger prints are taken (electronically)

Passport is scanned

My picture is taken

09:02 Process is completed

This was day two of the Anacortes, Wa enrollment operation. The signage for the location only exists at the door and is remote. The workers expect the office to be opened through November 2008.

Folks related to the Coast Guard have told me that TWIC came about because the Department of Homeland Security could not get Coast Guard computers and TSA computers to share information. As licensed mariners in the US are aware, we already have gone through a rigorous FBI background check and have been finger printed. The cost for this privilege of this new card is $132.50

I already carry my Master’s License, Passport, and Maritime Consortium (drug testing) Card aboard the vessels I work on.. I wonder how one more piece of ID is going to keep us safer.

Information from the TWIC website reads:

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a vital security measure that will ensure individuals who pose a threat do not gain unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime transportation system.

TWIC was established by Congress through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and is administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Coast Guard. TWICs are tamper-resistant biometric credentials that will be issued to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels, outer continental shelf facilities and all credentialed merchant mariners. It is anticipated that more than 750,000 workers including longshoremen, truckers, port employees and others will be required to obtain a TWIC.

The official TSA TWIC site is here.

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This post was written by Richard Rodriguez, Rescue Tug Captain, and US Coast Guard approved instructor for License Training. You can read more of his articles at the BitterEnd