McAllister Yard, NYC.

McAllister Yard, NYC.
McAllister Yard, NYC. Courtesy, Capt. Paul Brown

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reduction in TWIC fee effective 03/19/2012

I check the TSA TWIC website (http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/twic/index.shtm) on a regular basis. Sometime in the last several days, the following was posted:

Effective March 19, 2012, the fee charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for electronically processing fingerprint-based criminal history records information (CHRI) will decrease from $17.25 to $14.50 - a reduction of $2.75. As a result, the enrollment fee for the TWIC program will reduce from $132.50 to $129.75 (effective March 19, 2012). Additional information is provided in the related Federal Register Notice, dated December 20, 2011, located at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-20/pdf/2011-32544.pdf. Click here to read questions and answers related to this issue.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rev. 6 of MARSEC Directive 104, Counter-Piracy Guidance for 104 Vessels

In the Monday, January 30, 2012, Federal Register, the Coast Guard announces the release of Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive 104–6 (Rev 6). This Directive only applies to U.S.-flagged vessels subject to the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) on international voyages through or in designated high risk waters, and provides additional counter-piracy guidance and mandatory measures for these vessels operating in these areas where acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are prevalent. MARSEC Directive 104–6 (Rev 6) also includes an annex that provides specific direction for vessels operating around the Horn of Africa.

MARSEC Directive 104–6 (Rev 6), the Directive that is the subject of this notice of availability, provides a revised and updated list of designated high risk waters and areas. MARSEC Directive 104–6 (Rev 5) is no longer valid with the issuance of (Rev 6).

Owners and operators of U.S.-flagged vessels that travel on international voyages must contact their local COTP, cognizant District Commander or the Office of Vessel Activities to acquire a copy of MARSEC Directive 104–6 (Rev 6).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

John Bennett's MPS Blog Post About NMSAC Meeting Jan. 18, 2012

My good friend and fellow blogger, John Bennett, was present via phone at the meeting of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee held in Washington DC Jan. 18-19, 2012. He has an excellent report of the meeting on his blog at Maritime Protective Services, at http://mpsint.com/2012/01/20/results-of-the-january-2012-nmsac-meeting-%E2%80%93-part-i/. Members of the MTSA community should check this blog on a regular basis and particularly read all posts by John on the NMSAC meeting. Below is the portion concerning MTSA 2, which I am reproducing below. This update from the Coast Guard contains the same ominous language regarding screening and NVIC 06-04 that I have noted in earlier posts.

“Updating the MTSA Regulations

The NMSAC Executive Director was then asked to address to long-gestating “MTSA II” regulatory update of the original regulations promulgated to implement the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. He started with the premise that the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out the hoops through which the Government has to jump to produce regulations, limits the detail in which regulatory proposals can be disclosed outside formal rulemaking channels. The plan is to incorporate into the existing regulations lessons learned through experience with the current regulations, including numerous Policy Advisory Council decisions and screening standards from Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 06-04, as well as new provisions implementing the additional requirements of the SAFE Port Act. This would not be a complete rewrite of the existing regulations.

The Coast Guard had hoped to have the NPRM out last summer, but this was not to be. The proposal needs internal DHS scrutiny and then OMB review before it can be published. The Coast Guard will have several public meetings on the proposal once it’s published. As a constantly moving target, these are hard to budget for. Asked about the impact of pending SAFE Port Act legislation, he replied that, as currently drafted, it had little impact on the Coast Guard. Later, during the public comment period, my good friend and fellow blogger, Laurie Thomas asked if MTSA II would reconcile earlier MARAD-approved Facility Security Officer training with the requirements contained in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 [in Section 821]. Captain Kiefer replied that this would be addressed in a separate rulemaking, probably in 2013, although the Coast Guard might put out an interim policy sooner. If so, that would be run by NMSAC first. Laurie also noted that NVIC 06-04 set a very high standard for screening. She asked if the Coast Guard had conducted anysurvey of industry screening practices and suggested, based on experience gained while training Facility Security Officers, that there would be substantial industry push back if the Coast Guard attempted to make the voluntary standards of the NVIC compulsory. Captain Kiefer thanked her for providing that information about the industry. A NMSAC member proposed that the Committee come up with suggestions for inclusion in the rulemaking, rather than waiting for USCG taskings on specific issues.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Notice of NMSAC Meeting, Jan. 18-19

In the Monday, January 9, 2012 Federal Register, the Coast Guard posted a meeting notice for the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee. This notice may be found in its entirety at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-09/pdf/2012-105.pdf. The Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This meeting will be broadcasted via a web enabled interactive online format and teleconference. To participate via teleconference, dial (866) 717–0091, the pass code to join is 3038389#. Additionally, if you would like to participate in this meeting via the online web format, please log onto https://connect.hsin.gov/r11254182 and follow the online instructions to register for this meeting.

Agenda of Meeting

Day 1

The agenda for the Committee meeting is as follows:

(1) Maritime Domain Awareness and Information Sharing. The Committee will hold a discussion and will be tasked with developing guidelines and recommendations for the Coast Guard in enhancing information sharing between the maritime industry and the Federal Government;

(2) Maritime Transportation Security Act/Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Harmonization. The Committee will receive a brief and offer recommendations on the harmonization efforts of the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security for these two regulatory programs;

(3) Transportation Worker Identification Credential. The TWIC working group will provide an update on the implementation of the TWIC program from the industry perspective. The Transportation Security Administration will also provide an update on the development of TWIC readers;

(4) Public comment period.

Day 2

(1) Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). The Committee will be briefed on upcoming regulatory actions associated with updates to MTSA;

(2) Global Supply Chain Security Initiative. Per the SAFE Port Act (Pub.L. 109–347) NMSAC continues to be consulted in regards to the Global Supply Chain Security Initiative. The Committee will receive an update on this initiative;

(3) Requirements for vessel guards while in port. NMSAC will review and provide comment on requirements for vessels to post or contract for guards while in US ports;

(4) Underwater Terrorism Preparedness Program. NMSAC will receive a brief on the Coast Guard Underwater Terrorism Preparedness Program;

(5) Public comment period.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ryan Owens, ADFO of NMSAC, 2100 2nd Street SW., Stop 7581, Washington, DC 20593–7581; telephone (202) 372–1108 or email ryan.f.owens@uscg.mil. If you have any questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202)366–9826.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

TWIC/HME Compatability News (?) from TSA/TWIC Website

Newly posted on the TSA TWIC site, news about TWIC/ HME compatability:

Effective January 2012, the TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement Security Threat Assessment Program (HTAP) will offer the ability for TWIC holders the option to obtain an HME without undergoing a new, full security threat assessment (STA). The STAs for both the HME and TWIC programs have been deemed comparable, therefore applicants will not be required to submit a new set of fingerprints and will pay a reduced fee when applying for a Comparable HME. The ability to apply for a Comparable HME within each state will be determined by each state’s division of motor vehicles. More details will be provided closer to implementation of HME-TWIC Comparability, including a listing of those States that will offer this capability. Click here for frequently asked questions on this topic.

HME/TWIC COMPARABLE SECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENTS

  • Are the background checks for an HME the same as the background checks conducted for an individual applying for a TWIC?
    • Yes. They have the same eligibility requirements, share a consistent waivers and appeals process and leverage the same fingerprint-based criminal history records check. As a result, the HME and TWIC have been deemed comparable.
  • Is someone with an HME required to repeat the security threat assessment (STA) if they are applying for a TWIC?
    • No. As a result of this, an applicant who applies for a TWIC after successfully completing the HME STA does not have to pay for a second criminal history records check (CHRC) and as a result, the fee for the TWIC is reduced by $27.25. All TWIC applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the TWIC program, including enrollment and card issuance.
  • Does someone with a TWIC have to repeat the STA if they are applying for an HME?
    • Effective January 2012, TWIC holders will be offered the option to apply for a comparable HME. As a result of this, an applicant who applies for an HME after successfully completing the TWIC STA will not be required to submit additional fingerprints or pay for a second CHRC, thus the fee for the HME is reduced by $22.25. All HME applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the HME program, including application fees.
  • If someone already has a TWIC and is applying for a comparable HME, what is the application fee?
    • The TSA HME application fee, within states that utilize the TSA-agent, is $89.25 – however; the fee will vary depending upon the State in which the individual is applying, if the applicant’s state does not utilize the TSA-agent. The fee for a comparable application is reduced by $22.25 (new total of $67.00 within TSA-agent states). Note: individuals should consider the expiration date of their current TWIC in order to determine if it is more cost effective to apply for a full or a comparable/reduced fee HME.
  • Since HME requirements are specific to an individual State, are all 50 States including the District of Columbia, offering this comparability (where a TWIC holder receives a discount when applying for an HME)?
    • Given specific State statutes, license cycles, and system limitations, not all States (including the District of Columbia) will be able to offer comparability in January 2012. Applicants in a State that can offer comparability will be provided notice during the application process – and the on-line enrollment system will offer the individual the option to pay a reduced fee by electing to apply for a comparable security threat assessment.
  • If a TWIC holder chooses to apply for a comparable HME, what will the length of their HME be?
    • The HME will be issued with the same expiration date of the individual’s existing TWIC. This date is the expiration date of the TSA security threat assessment.
  • How does a TWIC holder who is applying for an HME know if the State where they are applying for the HME offers comparability?
    • Closer to the implementation date of January 2012, TSA will post a listing of States that support Comparability on this website. Applicants can inquire with States about this during their application process, or can contact the HazPrints help desk at (877) 429-7746 (7am-9pm Eastern Monday through Friday). The online application for the HME program will also identify whether or not that State offers Comparability once an applicant specifies the State in which they are applying. The list of states that offer Comparability will be updated as other states determine that they can offer the reduced fee HME.