US Coast Guard strengthens biometric entry rules
24 August 2016 12:15 GMT

The US Coast Guard has issued new requirements which state that fingerprint identification is a must for entering high-risk facilities around the country.

The changes mean that electronic fingerprint identification will be required for seafarers and terminal operators seeking unescorted access at 525 high-risk maritime facilities across the United States.

Issued in a so-called “final rule”, the rules require owners and operators of certain vessels and facilities regulated by the Coast Guard to conduct electronic inspections of biometrics-enabled Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) as an access control measure.

Previously, only a visual inspection was required in certain facilities.

Essentially, DHS requires that a security guard examines the security features (hologram and watermark) embedded on the surface of the credential, checks the expiration date listed on the card, and compares the photograph to the person presenting the credential. While this system of “visual TWIC inspection” provides some benefits, it does not address all security concerns, nor does it make full use of the security features contained in the TWIC, the USCG writes in the final rule.

The body estimates the annualized cost of this final rule to be approximately $22.5 million, while the 10-year cost is $157.9 million, discounted at 7 percent. 

This final rule also implements recordkeeping requirements and security plan amendments that would incorporate these TWIC requirements.