Monday, May 11, 2009

Public Comments TWIC Reader ANPRM – 05-08-09

There were two comments posted this week on the Coast Guard’s TWIC Reader ANPRM. The comments were received from Acheson Ventures Kerneos Inc Acheson Ventures Comments Acheson Ventures is the owner/operator of the Point Huron Terminal Company. They would like to see the ‘routine unescorted access provision’ changed to allow the facility security plan set the maximum number of personnel allowed RUA. This would still require COTP approval as part of the FSP approval process. They would also like to see a separate number for security personnel and non-security personnel. They expressed their desire to see a Great Lakes port included in the pilot program evaluation of the TWIC Reader. They would like to see a one year time limit for amending the FSP to take into account TWIC Reader requirements. Acheson Ventures recommends that when a facility occasionally handles a cargo/ship outside of their risk group description that they handle the additional security requirements with a simple notification to the COTP. Kerneos Inc Comments Kerneos is the operator of a bulk-solid commodity, low-consequence facility that is required to implement §105 security actions about two days per month. They would be classified as a Risk Group C facility. The Kerneos comments completely support the proposed regulations that pertain to facilities in that Risk Group. My Comments on Comments The Acheson Ventures comments on RUA procedures provide an interesting look at potential ways to modify the Coast Guard provisions. The idea of allowing the facility to set the number of personnel authorized RUA in there FSP is keeping with the general risk-based philosophy that Congress has directed DHS to use in all of their security processes. The facility would still have to justify the number to the COPT, so this should stop this RUA provision from just being a way to completely avoid the use of the TWIC Reader. The suggestion about a separate RUA limit for security personnel and non-security personnel is also an interesting suggestion. The point of the RUA procedures is to acknowledge that small working groups are essentially impossible to infiltrate on a short term basis. Large facilities have a number of such working groups and many times they work in areas of the facility with tighter restrictions on access. The Coast Guard should consider extending the RUA concept to working groups within specially designated security areas. The group members would be required to have to authenticate their identity and TWIC upon entry into the facility, but use the TWIC as a visual identification for their designated security area. Acheson also addressed the issue of facilities that only rarely handle cargos or vessels that would raise their Risk Group ranking. For facilities that plan to do this on a recurring basis, this fact should be established in their FSP, with appropriate security measures spelled out for those periodic increases in risk rating. Then, when such a shift is expected, the facility would simply have to notify the COTP that they are putting the pre-approved security measures into effect. These regulations should also make provisions for facilities to handle higher-risk cargoes or vessels in unusual circumstances. Separate provisions would be required for situations with some short notice time before the situation and for emergency situations. The regulations would have to set a time limit for advance notice that would not require amending the FSP. For situations less than that time limit, the regulations would require a letter notification that includes a listing of the proposed security measures that would be put into place. For emergency situations, the notification letter or message would essentially be a request for security assistance from the COTP. As always it is good to see comments that affirmatively support the proposed rule. Too often people will not take the effort to let the government know when it is proposing to do things right. Not only is this a refreshing affirmation of the work being done by people in those agencies, but it also aids the agency in appropriately judging the negative comments. The Kerneos comments are especially helpful in the former situation because they lay out the specific things that affect their facility that they agree with. This may allow the Coast Guard to limit the changes that others may suggest to those provisions.

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