I took a quick look at my TWIC card today and realized two things:
- It expired today.
- Still glad I lost the mustache. It just wasn’t working.
We haven’t heard much about TWIC cards lately, but I am betting that a lot of us had our cards expire recently. TWIC Cards were valid for five years and the roll-out for implementation started in 2008, in other words five years ago. They are required at most port facilities and by anyone holding a merchant mariner document, but a lot of facilities also required them (pretty much because it was a cheap way to get the government to do a background check on everyone who came on site). As an indication of how many offshore workers got TWIC cards, Port Fourchon was one of the busiest ports for TWIC applications for a period of time. It was also the site of the only two known cases of workers trying to falsify TWIC cards.
Anyone who got their TWIC remembers long lines, delays and endless controversy. In the initial period something like 1.5 million workers got their TWIC cards. TSA says that number is up to 2.4 million today.
For people who got their cards in that first wave and now find they are expiring, there is an extension process you can read about here. It gives you three more years for $60, but you have to apply at least 30 days before your current TWIC expires. The initial plans to have TWIC readers at ports and certain vessels has largely faded away because of problems with the reader system. However, it doesn’t look like there is any chance Congress will stop TWIC card requirements for individuals.
And there is a connection to SEMS. Don’t forget the Management section of SEMS requires all operators to make sure facilities are “in compliance with all applicable governmental regulations.” So better check those expiration dates.
And note to self: never, ever, ever grow the mustache back.