The Coast Guard is set to enforce new security measures at port facilities in New England Oct. 15, 2008, as mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act.

Regulations require that all personnel needing unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated facilities carry Transportation Worker Identification Credentials as an additional means of security in America's ports.

To obtain TWIC, an individual must provide biographic and biometric information such as fingerprints, sit for a digital photograph, and successfully pass a TSA security threat assessment. They will be required to present the credentials for unescorted access to secure areas of facilities.

Since Jan. 25, 2007, Coast Guard captains of the port in the Northern New England, Boston and Southeastern New England zones have been working with port facilities in an effort to make the transition to the new requirements as seamless as possible. Owners and operators of the facilities in these zones must comply by Oct. 15, 2008.

"Coast Guard personnel have collaborated with TSA, facility owners and operators, as well as truckers, vendors, contractors and other port stakeholders to ensure they are working toward compliance," said Capt. Liam Slein , chief of the Coast Guard First District prevention department. "Our goal is to ensure the safe and secure flow of commerce through these port facilities as this new security measure is added."

The Coast Guard will conduct routine announced and unannounced spot checks to ensure that owners and operators of MTSA regulated facilities are complying with the applicable TWIC regulations.