Shipyards Say Federal Security Rule May be Redundant

Wednesday, December 27, 2006
A federal plan to screen port workers could have unintended consequences for some local shipyards - driving up the cost to build and repair Navy ships while doing nothing to improve security, industry officials say. The new worker credential system, expected to take effect next year, is aimed at beefing up security at ports to guard against terrorism. Longshoremen, truckers and other transportation workers needing unescorted access to secure areas of the ports will have to obtain new biometric identification cards, requiring them to undergo FBI background checks and to submit fingerprints that will be embedded on the new cards. As written, however, the federal law also extends to some shipyards, including Navy shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Newport News, the region's largest private employer, and its 19,000 workers.

Since its unveiling this year, the federal rule has created confusion among the region's ship repair yards: Some say they apparently fall under the law, others say they do not. Industry officials argue that local shipyard workers, who are not in the business of transporting cargo, should be exempt from the new provisions. They say Northrop Grumman and the region's ship repair yards are now subject to security requirements set by their biggest customers, the Navy and the Department of Defense, that are more stringent than the proposed credential system.

As such, they contend that the new screening system - the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, known by its acronym TWIC - would be redundant, impose unnecessary costs and fail to improve security. Ultimately, any additional cost would fall on the Navy and taxpayers, industry officials said.

Northrop Grumman Newport News has estimated its own cost of implementing the screening program at $12.8 million, including the installation of machines to read the new biometric identification cards. The shipbuilder says ongoing costs to administer the program could run nearly $7 million a year. The American Shipbuilding Association, a trade group that represents the nation's six major Navy shipbuilders, has estimated that the 10-year costs industrywide could exceed the price tag of a Navy combatant ship. The proposed rules for the TWIC program were published in May by the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration, which are charged with overseeing the federal program.

While the new security efforts are geared toward port workers, some shipyards, other marine facilities and vessels fall under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 - the law that outlined the need for a new credential card system, said Angela McArdle, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard in Washington. The law applies to shipyards capable of transferring more than 10,500 gallons - or 250 barrels - of fuel oil or other hazardous materials, McArdle said. Having that ability, the Coast Guard says, makes the yards more vulnerable to terrorist attacks or natural disasters such as hurricanes. (Source:

Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter November 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Green Signal to New Access Channel to Port Said East

The construction of a wide access channel to Port Said East, as the side channel project, has officially received approval.   The head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA),

VT Halter Launches Barge for Bouchard

VT Halter Marine, Inc. (VT Halter Marine), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems) and Bouchard Transportation Co. announced that Barge B. No.

Fugro to Survey off Equatorial Guinea

Fugro has been awarded a contract by Ophir Equatorial Guinea (Block R) Limited for the provision of survey services for the development of large scale assets and

Maritime Security

South China Sea Hearing in Court

The Philippines has sought to debunk China's claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea, court officials said Monday (November 30) as an international tribunal wrapped up a five-day hearing,

Trucks Carrying Turkish Exports Blocked at Russian Border

Around 1,250 trucks carrying Turkish exports have been blocked from entering Russia and are stranded at border posts awaiting clearance, a senior shipping industry

Thyssenkrupp Bids for Australian Sub Contract

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp has submitted an offer to the Australian government for a contract to build stealth submarines potentially worth tens of billions of euros,

Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0856 sec (12 req/sec)