Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CG Voluntary Use of TWIC Reader Notice

Today the Coast Guard published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that Policy Advisory Council (PAC) Decision 01-11, “Voluntary Use of TWIC Readers”, was now available for comment. This document “provides guidance for using Transportation Security Identification Credential (TWIC) readers as part of a Vessel Security Plan or Facility Security Plan” (76 FR 14038) pending the issuance of the TWIC Reader rule (the NPRM is expected late this year; no telling when the final rule will become effective). This would be the document that I have been talking about here since January.

This notice provides a general overview of the guidance document. It notes that it describes how the TWIC Reader is used to verify identification, card validity and card authentication in place of the current method of checking the card photograph against the personal appearance of the card’s presenter. This guidance applies to the use of TWIC Readers “that have passed the Initial Capability Evaluation Test” conducted by the TSA. The notice reminds the TWIC community that there is no guarantee that the Readers on that list will be on the approved list in the final rule.

This CG Notice reminds MTSA covered facilities and vessels that, if they intend to implement this voluntary use of TWIC Readers, “they must submit a Vessel Security Plan or Facility Security Plan amendment in accordance with applicable regulations” (76 FR 14039). Non-MTSA facilities intending to use TWIC readers as part of their personnel surety program would probably due well to download this guidance document and reference it in their program documentation.

There is no effective date for this guidance document provided in this Notice and I am not familiar enough with Coast Guard procedures to know if this document becomes effective policy upon release of this notice. The notice does make clear, however, that the Coast Guard is looking for public comments on the document and wants those comments submitted by May 16, 2011. Those comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # USCG-2011-0129).

BTW: The Coast Guard web site is also providing a copy of a FEMA guidance document on how this affects grant applications under the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) and the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP).

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