Restricted Area, Secure Area, Secure/Restricted Area

We sometimes are asked:

“What is a Secure/Restricted Area?  That designation is not listed or referred to in the regulations.”

To address these differences, we begin this month’s Blog series with regulatory definitions and their interpretation.

33CFR101.105 DEFINITIONS:  Unless otherwise specified, as used in this subchapter:

Restricted areas mean the infrastructures or locations identified in a facility security assessment or by the operator that require limited access and a higher degree of security protection.  The entire facility may be designated the restricted area, as long as the entire facility is provided the appropriate level of security.

Secure area means the area at a facility over which the owner/operator has implemented security measures for access control in accordance with a Coast Guard approved security plan.  It does not include public access areas, as that term is defined in §§105.106 of this subchapter.  Facilities subject to part 105 of this subchapter located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa have no secure areas.  Facilities subject to part 105 of this subchapter may, with approval of the Coast Guard, designate only those portions of their facility that are directly connected to maritime transportation or are at risk of being involved in a transportation security incident as their secure areas.

Let’s review the Implementation of the National Maritime Security Initiatives Final Rule published July 1, 2003.  An important and insightful aspect of every Final Rule is the Agency’s responses to public comments.  In response to a request that TWIC requirements be promulgated quickly – the Coast Guard states:  ‘46 U.S.C. 70105, Transportation Security Cards, addresses unescorted personnel access to secure areas of facilities [emphasis added] and vessels.  Other agencies of DHS (e.g., TSA) are responsible for implementing this section of the MTSA.  Other agencies of DHS (e.g., TSA) are developing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) that will be a transportation system-wide common credential, used across all modes, for all U.S. transportation workers requiring unescorted physical and logical access to secure areas of our transportation system [emphasis added].  The goal is to have one standardized credential that is universally recognized and accepted across our transportation system and can be used locally within the current facility infrastructure.’

INTERPRETATION:  This tells us that to be granted unescorted access to a Secure Area one must possess a valid TWIC [and have a reason to be in the secure area].  There is no regulatory requirement to possess a valid TWIC for unescorted access to a Restricted Area.

However, according to 33CFR105.200 (b)(7) – the facility owner or operator must ensure that restricted areas are controlled and TWIC provisions are coordinated, if applied to such restricted areas. [emphasis added]

INTERPRETATION:  This tells us that if a portion of your Secure Area is also a Restricted Area,  e.g. a Secure/Restricted Area, TWIC provisions must be coordinated. 

Join us this month while we review these regulatory definitions and how they apply to your facility.  Suggested Reading - National Maritime Security Initiatives , 33 CFR 101.105 and 33 CFR 105.200.