The U.S. Coast Guard announced the Federal Register's publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled "Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) - Reader Requirements." This NPRM proposes to establish electronic card reader requirements for certain Coast Guard-regulated vessels and facilities to use in controlling access to secure areas at those locations.
The TWIC program, including the proposed electronic reader requirements in the NPRM, is an important component of the Coast Guard's multi-layered system of access control requirements and other measures designed to enhance maritime security.
This NPRM seeks to implement the mandate in the Security and Accountability For Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 to promulgate regulations that require the use of electronic card readers in a manner consistent with the findings of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security pilot program that tested the business processes, technology and operational impacts of electronic TWIC readers in the maritime environment.
This NPRM builds upon existing regulations requiring maritime workers and other individuals who have access to secure areas of Coast Guard-regulated vessels and facilities to apply for and obtain a TWIC. Applicants provide biographic information and fingerprints and must successfully pass the Transportation Security Administration's security threat assessment in order to obtain a TWIC. Once issued, the card itself shows the holder's photograph, name, card expiration date and unique card number. Also, each card contains embedded templates of the holder's fingerprints and other security features that can be utilized only if scanned using an electronic card reader.
"The Coast Guard strongly supports an approach that implements the electronic reader requirements in a targeted manner that enhances the security of the marine transportation system without imposing undue burdens," said Cmdr. Jeff Morgan, chief of the Cargo and Facilities Division at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. "I believe this proposed rulemaking demonstrates that and we look forward to hearing from interested stakeholders through the comment process and at several public meetings over the next two months."
After careful analysis of the potential attack scenarios and risks to different types of vessels and facilities, the Coast Guard created framework for classifying vessels and facilities into one of three risk groups. Using this risk-based approach, the NPRM proposes electronic reader requirements for vessels and facilities in the highest risk group. Vessels and facilities that do not present this heightened risk would either continue to visually inspect TWICs or voluntarily use electronic readers. The Coast Guard encourages the public to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments to the docket at http://www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-2007-28915. All comments received will be posted without change.