American Samoa, CG Amends TWIC Rule

Friday, March 27, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard announced it has submitted to the Federal Register a rulemaking to amend one provision of the Jan. 25, 2007, final rule "Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Implementation in the Maritime Sector; Hazardous Materials Endorsement for a Commercial Driver's License."

The new rulemaking, which shares the same title as the Jan. 25, 2007 rule, amends the definition of "secure area" in Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 101.105, to state that facilities otherwise subject to 33 CFR Part 105 located in the territory of American Samoa do not have secure areas for the purposes of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential regulations. This action means that only the facility security officer and facility personnel whose primary employment responsibility is security, will be required to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential per 33 CFR Sections 105.205 and 105.210.

While American Samoa is part of the United States, it is not currently included in the definition of "United States" for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Title 8, United States Code, Section 101((a)(38)). Therefore, the work authorization of aliens in American Samoa is a matter of territorial law only and U.S. immigration statuses and related employment authorizations do not apply in American Samoa.

The rulemaking, effective upon publication, ensures that after April 14, maritime businesses in the territory of American Samoa are able to continue operating without significantly impacting the security risk to the port area. Without the amendment, these businesses would be forced to escort the vast majority of their personnel in secure areas, because more than three-quarters of the maritime workforce who would require a Transportation Worker Identification Credential cannot qualify for one. The Coast Guard has determined that having to escort such a large number of workers in secure areas would be unduly disruptive to American Samoa.

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential was established in the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act to serve as an identification program for all Coast Guard credentialed mariners and personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas within a port.

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