While at the 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit, I had the opportunity to attend the “Staying Afloat with Coast Guard Regulations” breakout session. In the session, Captain Kevin Kiefer, Chief, Port & Facilities Activities for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) discussed various updates to the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and related programs.
Captain Kiefer provided an update on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, which is now in effect at 361 ports, 3,200 facilities, and 14,000 vessels. To date, more than 1.8 million card holders are enrolled in the program. The TWIC discussion also included an update regarding the TWIC Reader Pilot Program, which was just completed this summer. For the Pilot Program, the Coast Guard deployed around 250 TWIC readers at participating facilities and vessels throughout the country to test the technologies and their operational impact. The National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) also provided input on the reader testing.
Now that the data has been collected, the Coast Guard is compiling a report on the Pilot Program which it will submit to Congress later this summer. Captain Kiefer expects a TWIC Reader Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to be released later this year, with a Final TWIC Reader Rule coming sometime in late 2012. In the interim, the Coast Guard continues to test and certify TWIC readers, and its Initial Capability Evaluation (ICE) list identifies readers that have successfully completed testing. Captain Kiefer also noted that port security grants may be used for approved TWIC readers.
Captain Kiefer also discussed forthcoming MTSA regulatory updates, or MTSA II. He explained that MTSA II will incorporate lessons learned and recommendations from the MTSA help desk, as well as consolidate Policy Advisory Council and Navigation and Inspection Vessel Circular guidance. He anticipates a MTSA II NPRM to be published in late 2011.
Additionally, Captain Kiefer briefly spoke about MTSA-Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) harmonization. He noted that the MTSA-CFATS Harmonization Working Group formed in 2007 continues to work towards a successful chemical security regulatory regime, but could not speak to whether, or when MTSA facilities will be required to submit CFATS Top-Screens. He believes we will see an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the topic within the next year.
We’ll continue to monitor TWIC, MTSA II, CFATS harmonization and other issues on the MTSA regulatory front, so be sure to visit the blog regularly for updates.Leave a comment