Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, December 26, 2008

Background Checks Could Cause Maritime Workers Their Jobs

Many maritime workers may soon lose their jobs because of a background check requirement.

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential
is currently being set up throughout most of the country. The credential requires maritime workers to obtain an identification card from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a measure that could cause many port workers and boat captains to lose their jobs.

The big problem is that those applying for the cards are subjected to background checks, which discredit some applicants with criminal records, according to an article by the Athens Banner-Herald.

The TWIC Web site states that,"Merchant mariners and individuals who need unescorted access to secure areas of ports, facilities or vessels regulated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act will need to obtain a TWIC."

The Maritime Transportation Security Act was passed in 2002 to tighten port security in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Port workers from Jacksonville, Fla. to Charleston, S.C., were required, with a few exceptions, to have the ID card in their possession to enter port facilities as of December 1. The Coast Guard ensures that port facilities and businesses are enforcing the requirement.

"This is another added layer of security for our ports and our port facilities," Petty Officer Michael Hulme, a Coast Guard spokesman, said in the article. "It covers anybody who works at ports, the majority of which are truck drivers."

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