Coast Guard announces TWIC exemptions

Last month, the United States Coast Guard announced that it would be exempting a number of mariners from having to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) when renewing or obtaining a USCG-issued merchant mariner credential (MMC).

In a policy letter, the Coast Guard said that the exemption will apply to mariners who work on ships that are not required to have a vessel security plan or are not actively sailing on their MMC.

According to the letter, these vessels include:

-          Uninspected passenger vessels of less than 100 gross register tons (GRT)

-          Vessels inspected under subchapter T of Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, except those on international voyages

-          Towing vessels not involved in towing barges inspected under CFR subchapters D, I or O

-          Towing vessels involved in fleeting, docking or ship assist as excepted in Title 33 CFR, Section 104.105(a) (11).

Mariners who are being issued an initial MMC or who have never held a TWIC will still have to enroll for a TWIC at a TWIC enrollment center under the policy.

In a statement, USCG Capt. Eric Christensen said the policy is expected to impact an estimated 60,000 sailors.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 allows the Coast Guard to exempt any mariner not requiring unescorted access to a secure area of a vessel from having to hold a TWIC as a precondition of receiving a MMC.