What is a TWIC card and do I need one?

If you work in the maritime industry, you’ve probably heard about a TWIC card, even if you’ve never needed one. They are a safety measure that is part of the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), which was passed by Congress in 2002. The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a form of identification that is required for all maritime or offshore workers who need unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities. These measures are all to protect U.S. owned ports from terrorist activity.

Individuals with TWIC cards undergo a thorough screening process, so maritime workers who have unescorted access to secure areas of our maritime transportation system are all identified and approved for work. The card itself is a tamper-resistant credential containing your fingerprint to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you need a TWIC if you are a Coast Guard-credentialed:

  • Merchant mariner
  • Port facility employee
  • Long shore worker
  • Truck driver
  • Any other employee requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA

When it comes to getting a TWIC, facility and vessel owners/operators are required to notify employees of their responsibility to have a TWIC based on their need to have unescorted access to secure areas of vessels and facilities. Notification needs to be given in a timely manner to give workers enough time to complete the enrollment process by the compliance date.

Do you have a TWIC? How long did the enrollment process take you?

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