TWIC FINAL RULE ENFORCEMENT DELAY CONFUSION?
HERE ARE YOUR ANSWERS…
Per the H.R. 5729 law passed by Congress in July 2018, the Coast Guard is required to submit a report summarizing the DHS led security assessment study on TWIC readers. The study is currently being conducted and not expected to be completed until sometime late Spring of 2019. For at least 60 days after the report is submitted to Congress, TWIC Reader requirements are delayed for all Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) facilities to include facilities handling CDC but do NOT transfer them to or from vessels and receive vessels certified to carry 1000 or more passengers. Below explains where and how the confusion came about.
On August 23, 2016 the Coast Guard published a final rule in the Federal Register named “Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Reader Requirements,” which was to be implemented on August 23, 2018. As we got closer to the effective date of this regulation, rumors started circulating that the Coast Guard would delay implementation.
In June 2018, the Coast Guard published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that delayed for three years the implementation of TWIC readers for facilities that handle CDCs in a non-maritime nexus, meaning they do not receive or transfer them to or from vessels. In July 2018, a court order delayed the enforcement of TWIC readers for all facilities handling CDC either by maritime means or by land.
Shortly after the court ruling, Congress passed a law, the aforementioned H.R. 5729, prohibiting the Coast Guard from implementing and enforcing the TWIC Reader requirements on any CDC facility and cruise ship terminals for at least 60 days after the Coast Guard provides Congress with a TWIC Reader security and feasibility study. This study is currently underway. The study is expected to be completed by late Spring of 2019. DHS and the Coast Guard will then review and assess the study before submitting their final report to Congress. This review process may take several weeks or months.
What does this mean for your facility and your business?
The regulatory delay is so the Coast Guard can reconsider the effectiveness and scope of the TWIC Final Rule and to re-evaluate which facilities would be subject to the electronic TWIC inspection requirements. The TWIC program’s purpose is clear - to keep persons who may be a security risk away from secure areas of vessels and waterfront facilities.
Key take-away points:
Expect the Coast Guard to significantly increase the number of TWIC verifications (with their own electronic readers) during their routine and/or unannounced inspections;
Certain vessel and facility operators will be required to use readers in the future;
TWIC is here to stay…so facility and vessel operators who voluntarily use their TWIC readers will be one step ahead; and
Seebald & Associates International is ready to assist you in getting ahead of the game by reducing your exposure to compliance risk, whether for the TWIC Final Rule or any regulatory concern you may have.
We’re proud of our reputation in helping you keep your facility and our nation’s ports secure.