Mariners overwhelm TSA with TWIC renewals
November 1, 2012
it the TWIC version of a Hurricane Sandy story.
have flooded the Transportation Security Agency with so many TWIC renewal
applications that the system is overloaded, and TSA is calling out for help.
August, TSA launched a new alternative to deal with the expected onslaught of
applications as hundreds of TWICs began to expire. Available now is the option
of a three-year renewal rather than a five year that costs less ($60), and
would require no new biometrics evaluation and only one trip to the enrollment
center instead of two.
have jumped at the cheaper, short-term Extended Expiration Date (EED) card,
with many cardholders requesting an EED as much as two years before their
expiration dates. This has resulted in busy signals and long wait times at the
TWIC Help Desk, as the EED applications can be handled by phone.
demand for the short-term extension could indicate that mariners remain
skeptical and nervous about long delays and hassles with the five-year
extension that requires the biometrics, especially given TSA’s early performance
during the rollout of the TWIC program.
avoid difficulties, TSA is now recommending that TWIC holders contact the Help
Desk no sooner than four months prior to a card’s expiration date. The number
the meantime, the maritime community is seeking a longer-term relief to one of
the most vexing issues of the TWIC application process: the requirement that
mariners make two trips to the enrollment center — one to supply their biometrics
information and the second visit to receive and activate the credential.
Mariners complain that the second trip is costly, unnecessary and highly
inconvenient for their work schedules.
in the Coast Guard authorization bill, which supporters hope will be considered
by Congress in the lame duck session after the November elections, will
eliminate the second trip requirement to pick up the card.
before you vote next week, don’t forget to tell your congressman and senator
that this issue is important to you.