SOURCE: TSA

December 04, 2007 12:30 ET

Mobile Port Workers Begin Enrollment for Federal Port Security Credential

MOBILE, AL--(Marketwire - December 4, 2007) - Port and longshore workers, truckers and others at the Port of Mobile tomorrow 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.

More than 15,000 workers from the port region are expected to enroll. Nationwide, more than 1 million workers with unescorted access to secure areas will apply for TWIC during the rest of 2007 and 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, TWIC program director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "We appreciate the support of our partners at Port of Mobile for helping to make one of the world's most advanced interoperable biometric systems a reality."

Mobile is among the first 23 ports to begin enrollment in the nationwide program. Ultimately, fixed enrollment centers will be in place at 147 ports along with mobile enrollment centers at dozens of other locations as needed.

"A tremendous amount of planning and work has been done collectively by TSA, the Coast Guard, port owners/operators, employee groups and other stakeholders in preparation for this critical phase of the TWIC program," said Coast Guard Captain Ed Stanton. "The Coast Guard is committed to working closely with TSA and our local industry partners during the enrollment and compliance phases of the TWIC program to assure a successful transition with minimal disruption to port operations."

Workers at the Port of Mobile are able to pre-enroll for TWIC online at www.tsa.gov/twic or the Coast Guard's Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil. 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 each individual.

The Port of Mobile handles more than 57 million tons of cargo each year. The port is the 12th largest in the nation in throughput tonnage and handles containers, breakbulk, bulk and oversized and heavy lift cargoes. The Alabama State Port Authority's McDuffie Terminal is the largest import coal terminal in North America.