Today the Coast Guard published a final rule in the Federal Register (81 FR 57651-57713) outlining the requirements for the use of Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) card readers at facilities and on vessels covered by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) program. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this rulemaking was published in March of 2013 and I completed a series of blog posts on the public comments received on that NPRM. This final rule was approved by OMB back on July 11th, 2016.
This rule will require that before an individual is allowed unescorted access to designated secure area of a Risk Group A vessel or facility, an individual will have:
• His or her TWIC authenticated;
• The status of that credential validated against an up-to-date list maintained by the TSA; and
• The individual's identity confirmed by comparing his or her biometric (i.e. fingerprint) with a biometric template stored on the credential.
The final rule authorizes a facility or vessel owner to use either a TWIC Card Reader on the approved TSA list or choose to fully integrate electronic TWIC inspection and biometric matching into a new or existing Physical Access Control System (PACS). Due to the exemption for vessels with 20 or fewer covered personnel there is only one vessel currently covered by this rulemaking. A total of 525 facilities are affected.
The effective date of this rule is August 23, 2018.
Future blog posts will take a more detailed look at the provisions of this final rule.