TWIC Card Reader Final Rule Isn't So Bad
By Denessa Bacallan


Well it could have been much worse. Since the proposed TWIC Final Ruling came out many MTSA Stakeholders have been worried that there concerns many not have been heard. Well they have the United States Coast Guard along with the Transportation Security Administration released the TWIC Card Reader Final Ruling on August 23, 2016. The rule eliminates the special requirements for barge fleeting facilities that handle CDC in bulk to be classified as a Risk Group A facility. Which many in the maritime industry were concerned about. One commenter in the final rule noted that the water where barge fleets are located is considered a secure area, but the area was only accessible by boat. The commenter questioned how electronic TWIC inspection could be conducted in such a situation. Similarly, another commenter requested that they be allowed to conduct electronic TWIC inspections on shore before entering barge fleeting areas, as otherwise there would be no way to conduct an electronic TWIC inspection. Another commenter noted that the only ‘‘access point’’ into such secure areas may be a towing vessel with the dedicated purpose of guarding the area. These commenters raise important issues as to how the USCG would apply the electronic TWIC inspection process to secure areas on water, such as barge fleeting facilities. Upon consideration, the USCG now does not believe that requiring electronic TWIC inspection prior to entering such areas would be practical, as there is no particular access point to such an area that can be controlled by a TWIC reader. Electronic TWIC inspection would instead be required at the barge fleeting facility’s shore side location if available. With this ruling it has eliminated the majority of not all of the barge fleeting areas. The new regulations states 105.110(e), Exemptions, which clearly states that barge fleeting facilities that do not have a secure area are exempt from the requirements in 33 CFR 101.535(b)(1). However, some barge fleeting facilities will still be required to comply with electronic TWIC inspection if they meet the requirements of § 105.253(a)(1). Thus, if a barge fleeting facility handles or receives CDC in bulk, it would be considered to be a Risk Group A facility, and would be subject to the electronic TWIC inspection requirements. However, the USCG did note that the electronic TWIC inspection requirements would be limited to secure areas only, as towing boats could still service barges without having their crews’ TWICs electronically inspected. In addition, the USCG did throw a problematic road block out there with an addition to Risk Group A. By stating in 33CFR105.253(b) “Facilities may move from one Risk Group classification to another, based on the material they handle or the types of vessels they receive at any given time. An owner or operator of a facility expected to move between Risk Groups must explain, in the Facility Security Plan, the timing of such movements, as well as how the facility will move between the requirements of the higher and lower Risk Groups, with particular attention to the security measures to be taken when moving from a lower Risk Group to a higher Risk Group.” Meaning that if you are a Port facility and a vessel is traveling along the ICW and has an engine failure and needs to lay up at your port, but the vessel is carrying CDC material you have now received CDC and thus have entered into Risk Group A. This in its self poses a problem that will have to be addressed by each facility. Next week we will talk about where to get your TWIC Readers and if you can use your existing facility access control system.

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