Port Security Program Gets Strong Response

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
According to Reuters, the TSA has received more than 1,000 documents of feedback on the new rules for workers entering domestic ports, which include fingerprinting and conducting background checks. In late April, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, which included name-based background checks on nearly 400,000 port workers in the United States.

The public was allowed 45 days to submit feedback on the next phase of the program, and the public comment period ended on July 6. TSA would collect workers' biographical information including 10 fingerprints, name, date of birth, address, phone number, alien registration number if applicable, photo, employer and job title.

This will affect all people with unescorted access to port facilities and vessels, raising the number of workers subject to the security screening to up to 850,000 maritime port transportation workers.

Some maritime industry sources pointed to the need for a delicate balance between tight security and high port efficiency, but they expressed two main concerns about the TWIC program. One is the efficiency of the biometric technology to be used for fingerprinting, and the other is a possible drop in port efficiency. Source: Reuters

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