TWIC Card Reader- A Change of Heart or Not!
By Denessa Bacallan

Just over a year ago the USCG, had a change of heart or felt like someone had made a mistake. On March 31, 2017 the U.S. Coast Guard posted a blog post in the Maritime Commons in reference to handling CDC. The post discussed the perceived missed interpretation among stakeholder when it came to the term handling of Certain Dangerous Cargos (CDC). However, there was no missed interpretation among the maritime stakeholders. Stakeholder knew what the USCG meant when they defined Handling of CDC.

Discussions at public meetings prompted the Coast Guard to clarify the term ‘‘handle’’ as it related to non-maritime commerce. Specifically, the question was raised whether a facility would be classified as Risk Group A if it was used to transfer CDC in bulk through rail or other non-maritime means. In this situation, such a facility would be considered to ‘‘handle CDC in bulk’’ and would be classified as Risk Group A. This is because the bulk CDC would be on the premises of a MTSA regulated facility, and thus the facility’s access control system would need to be used to mitigate the risk of a TSI. We note that there are provisions where non-maritime activities of a facility can be located outside of the facility’s MTSA footprint. In that situation, where the bulk CDC is not a part of the maritime transportation activities, it may be that a facility could define its MTSA footprint in such a way as to exclude that area. In such a case, the TWIC reader requirements that are being implemented in this final rule would not apply in that area.

So, after 8 months of uncertainty the USCG came out with the following Maritime Commons Blog Post:

The Blog reads as follows:

Over the course of conducting outreach supporting the publication of the TWIC – Reader Requirements Final Rule published August 23, 2016, the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance identified a need to clarify application of the rule for those facilities that are considered Risk Group A under 33 CFR 105.253(a). While the Coast Guard evaluates the final rule’s, provisions including the definition of “bulk or in-bulk” and the Coast Guard interpretation of the term “handle” as it applies to 33 CFR 105.253(a)(1), the following groups will be expected to comply with the requirements of the reader rule on its effective date of August 23, 2018:

1. Facilities that receive vessels certificated to carry more than 1,000 passengers; and

2. Facilities subject to 33 CFR 105.295

Guidance regarding how 33 CFR 105.295 is applied can be found in Policy Advisory Council Decision 20-04 – Certain Dangerous Cargo Facilities.

Facilities that do not fit into the above described groups but are considered Risk Group A based on the final rule publication, should note the Coast Guard is considering the development of implementation guidance, policy determinations, and/or regulatory updates at this time. This clarification does not impact vessels that are classified as Risk Group A under 33 CFR 104.263(a).

For any Alternate Security Program holders with questions concerning eligibility, please contact Ms. Betty McMenemy at CG-FAC, for any case by case determinations. For facility security plan holders with questions concerning eligibility, please contact your local Captain of the Port for case by case determinations.

As you can see there is still a degree of uncertainty among not only maritime stakeholder but, also the USCG to what direction will be taken when it comes to the clarification of handling CDC. Once again, the Maritime industry sits a awaits the USCG decision, even as we sit only 5 months until CDC facility have to be operational with TWIC Readers.

If you need assistance with your TWIC Reader program, from purchasing the readers themselves to adding the proper verbiage to your Facility Security Plan. Maritime Defense Strategy LLC is here to assist. Give us a call today

Joseph Powell

Director of Compliance

Maritime Defense Strategy LLC


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