War on Terror Comes to Kaunakakai Wharf
Security measures could add to consumer costs.
The War on Terror goes on, and so do the costs to U.S. citizens. Molokai is not isolated as the latest federal security measures will impact the island sometime this year.
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program will require maritime and port workers to purchase tamper-resistant biometric credentials. The program is a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Coast Guard initiative.
The card will be valid for five years, and the price tag, $132.50, includes a background check on the applicant. Those who have undergone a background check will pay a reduced fee of $105.25.
Young Brothers Ltd. will have to purchase around 400 cards for its workers. The company’s vice president, Bruce McEwan, said the cards will cost Young Brothers “tens of thousands of dollars.”
An Aug. 28, 2007 notice from Young Brothers stated that the TWIC program is not limited to employees of the maritime industry, so anyone who visits a designated waterfront facility, like Young Brothers, will be required to have the card. Young Brothers currently screens people by asking for picture identification.
Small-business owners and workers who pick up and ship freight at the harbor say the card is an unfair monetary burden. Adding to the cost, there is no enrollment facility on Molokai, so applicants will have to travel to Honolulu, the nearest place where the cards can be issued.
The TSA contractor Lockheed Martin designated the enrollment sites, which did not include Molokai and Lanai.
“Business commerce will surely be hurt because of this added travel cost, which will undoubtedly be passed on to customers” said Barbara Haliniak, President of the Molokai Chamber of Commerce in a letter submitted to the Hawaii House of Representatives.
“Cruise ship passengers and inter-island ferry passengers will not need the card, because they go through security screening when boarding,” said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
An estimated 750,000 individuals will require TWICs. Enrollment and issuance will take place over an 18 month period. Enrollment for a TWIC began in Honolulu on Nov. 7, 2007. To obtain a TWIC, applicants must provide fingerprints, a digital photograph and pass a TSA security-threat assessment.