January 17, 2008 14:03 ET

Ontonagon Port Workers Begin Enrollment for Federal Port Security Credential

ONTONAGON, MI--(Marketwire - January 17, 2008) - Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Ontonagon today will begin to enroll in the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The program's goal is to ensure that any individual who has unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels has received a thorough background check and is not a security threat.

Nationwide, more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply for TWIC during the rest of 2008.

"The start of enrollment is one more step in our effort to prevent persons who are a threat from gaining access to secure areas of port facilities," said Maurine Fanguy, the TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at the Port of Ontonagon for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."

With the addition of the Port of Ontonagon, 49 ports are currently enrolling people through the program, which began on Oct. 16, 2007. Ultimately, established fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.

"TWIC is a crucial part of our multi-layered approach to maritime security, which will strengthen security and improve access control measures to port facilities and vessels nationwide," said Coast Guard Lt. Aaron Gross. "Over the past several months, USCG Marine Safety Unit Ontonagon has been conducting extensive outreach to the maritime industry to help prepare for the transition to the new TWIC program requirements."

Workers at the Port of Ontonagon are able to pre-enroll for TWIC online at or the Coast Guard's Homeport site, Pre-enrolling speeds up the process by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person. This eliminates waiting at enrollment centers and reduces the time it takes to enroll.

The Port of Ontonagon TWIC enrollment center is located 916 River St., Ontonagon, Mich., 49953-1622. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.