WILMINGTON -- As of Friday, everyone who enters the Port of Wilmington unescorted is required to show a TWIC card. A Transportation Worker Identification Credential is part of a nationwide security program required by the Transporation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, to keep an eye on who is entering the nation's ports. TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said 687,000 TWIC cards have been issued nationwide and very few people have been denied. She said there have been 4,300 cards issued in Wilmington, but there are 500 people in Wilmington who still need to get their TWIC card. "This is an important way for us to verify that the people who are getting this unescorted access to ports do no pose a threat," said Koshetz. Port officials are happy to see the additional form of security in place at their facility. "It's another layer of security, is how we look at this. It's another means of conducting background checks for literally everyone entering our facility now, unlike before it was done sporadic," said Doug Campen, Director of Port Police and Security. Everyone from truckers to port employees to volunteers, like Alton and Alberta Lowe, needs a TWIC card. Alton Lowe said, "It's been basically wide open and this should help that a whole lot." People in the Wilmington area who need a TWIC card need to apply in person at the TWIC enrollement center at 5704 Oleander Drive, Suite 107. It costs $132.50 to apply for the card, which is valid for five years. It takes several weeks for the TWIC card to process, since it includes a background check and threat assesment. Card holders have to go back to the enrollment center to activate their card once it's ready. If people requiring access to the port don't have their TWIC card as of Friday, Koshetz said it will be up to the port and Coast Guard representatives on site to determine if they will offer an escort or deny access.
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