Merchant mariners may get two IDs

Merchant mariners will carry two new credentials under a notice of proposed rulemaking issued yesterday by the Homeland Security Department.

The proposed rule would require merchant mariners to have the Transportation Workers Identification Credential as well as a new consolidated mariner form.

'The consolidated mariner form would document the mariner's professional skills and capabilities, and TWIC would document the mariner's identity,' according to the notice published by the Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard.

The 277-page notice, titled TWIC Implementation in the Maritime Sector, outlines details on TSA and Coast Guard deployment of the biometric ID card.

TSA said the notice will be published in the Federal Register in the next several days, and the public will have 45 days and four public meetings in which to comment.

The TWIC program is expected to cover 750,000 workers. It anticipates a payment of $139 per card per worker and is expected to be valid for five years, the notice added.

TSA said it will collect biographic information, as well as 10 fingerprints and a photograph, for all people who need unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

The credential will be issued to longshoremen, port operator employees, truck drivers and rail workers, in addition to U.S. merchant mariners.

Separately, the Coast Guard has proposed combining existing merchant mariner documents into a new Merchant Mariner Credential. The new document would combine elements of the Merchant Mariner's License, Merchant Mariner's Document, Certificate of Registry and STCW Endorsement in a single qualification credential, the TSA said in a press release.

A copy of the Coast Guard proposal was not immediately available.

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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