TWIC enrollment: not so easy for everyone

by Tim Flanagan on August 3, 2009

Mary Rothschild has this item at

There are small signs the world over. Over in Europe there’s a sailor who is delivering wine by sailing boat, this web down in the Gulf of Mexico another attempt to convey goods by sailing boat came to a sad end when the boat sank, pill but now in USA’s Puget Sound there’s a sailor who has a weekly food order – to be delivered by sailing boat and without using a drop of oil.

It was last January when Scottish engineer Dave Reid, information pills who gave up his job to begin his ‘Sail Transport Network’, loaded some 700 pounds of freshly harvested organic vegetables into the cabin of his 27-foot sailboat, The Whisper, in Sequim Bay, hoisted his sails and rode an outgoing tide into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, bound for Seattle.

Over the next two days, Reid sailed on quirky winds, dodged state ferries, scooted past Chinese container ships and even encountered a mammoth Trident submarine before eventually docking at Shilshole Bay. That’s where his customers showed up to collect their allotments of herbs and greens.

Cargo bikes are used to get the produce to the boat -  .. . 

In an economy that usually rewards speed and efficiency, Reid’s carbon-free voyage gave new meaning to tilting at windmills. It took 36 hours to make a trip a small truck could have accomplished in two hours. And his 700 pounds amounted to a minuscule percentage of the food consumed in Seattle that day.

But Reid and his collaborators in the regional sustainability movement are dead serious about the idea of transporting goods by sailboat. It’s an idea that’s less about straight-from-the-farm spinach and arugula than it is about proving that just about anything can be moved from Point A to Point B without burning a drop of oil.

To make that work on a larger scale, he says, the effort must start small. Instead of waiting for President Obama or the Ford Motor Co. to conserve energy, he’s taking action now, riding on the belief that individuals and neighborhoods must take matters into their own hands.

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I’ve written a lot recently about my quick and painless experience acquiring a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) and a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

Comments on those posts indicate that my experience, remedy particularly with the TWIC, health is not shared universally. Some folks are frustrated. A few are angry.

I think it’s worthwhile to draw attention to these stories. I dislike slinging mud for its own sake, and that is not my intention. Rather, my hope is that publicizing these comments will help break up the various logjams these folks have encountered, ultimately assisting both the mariners who feel stuck and the TSA.

I’ve removed the names from these comments, and I have no evidence supporting the veracity of any of these claims, but my intuition tells me they are probably legitimate.

I have been waiting for my TWIC card for five months. Since I was born on a U.S. Naval Base in Japan, I was told to send a copy of my orginal birth certificate, which I have done, and still no response. This is , why, I can’t go back to work, after 25 years. I was born an American citizen for 53 years now. I can,t seem to get any info from TSA, or any other office. Nobody seems to know what the next person does in this process. Any advice?

A reply from another reader:

After applying for my twic, I finally got a reply after about 4 months. They were denying me because they couldn’t figure out my immigration status. I was born in Germany on an army base. Now even though I had served in the military, worked on nukes, the pentagon, secret service building, air bases and have had extensive background checks by the FBI to get on some of these jobs, they (twic) couldn’t figure out my status. I sent copies of my birth certificate and the State Departments Office of Foreign Services copy of their birth certificate for me. Almost another three months later and still no reply. I finally contacted my Senators office (Tom Carper) who sits on a sub committee for homeland security. Within a few weeks I recieved a reply from TSA that with the latest information they recieved that I “may exercise the privileges of holding a TWIC card”. I suggest that you complain to your senators and congressman. Ask them why a company that builds planes for the government is doing maritime security checks anyway? In fact why not find the email and physical address for all the senators and congressmen and ask all of them why about six thousand out of ten thousand denials are errors by the people doing the threat assessments. Ok Im starting to get on a soapbox, sorry. Contact your senators and congressmen and ask them to help you, thats what they were elected to do.

And another tale of woe:

I’ve been waiting for a twic going on a year now, did everything which was required of me and still no twic. I’ve seen back logs before, this is more like an extended vacation. Of course nobody can tell you anything, and there is no way to directly contact anyone directly with TWIC. I’m losing thousands of dollars because I can’t enter into a refinery without one, what is a man to do????

Wow. All three of these situations sound frustrating. My application was extremely straightforward, and I was impressed with how smoothly the process went. But it appears that the TSA is still refining the process when things are, shall we say, less than perfectly straightforward.

Anybody else have experiences to share, or feedback for these frustrated folks?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grady August 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I applied for my twic in January 09, I got denied because of marijuana charge in 03 which was listed as waivable. I sent in my official papers saying i completed my sentence with a first time offender pardon. It’s 10 months later no response from tsa even though I have a hazerdous material endoursement that tsa gave me 2 years ago. now the job I been working at for 6 years has given me 30 days to obtain the twic card or I must seek other employment. I’m veteran i don’t deserVe this. I can protect this country but I can’t protect my job!

2 pepsound November 17, 2009 at 6:06 am

Customer Service Sucks, The place looks like a butcher’s shop. Then ,they are selling a plastic cover for $10.00 louzy Dollars In my opinion it should be free after paying 132.50 dollars
Location very difficult to find. Is there anybody checking on this Twic Qwuick maaaaaking dollars.

3 Robby December 23, 2009 at 11:00 am

I got my TWIC in Florida just because I happened to be down there for a few months. I applied at an old rental car agency building. Everything was pretty straightforward, except for the employee telling me how crap his job was. Filled in everything, checked it 3 times, checked it with him 2 times, card comes back after a few weeks, and they swapped my first and middle name :( I was like, “Are you kidding me.” So mentioned this to them they reordered a new card which took longer than the first to come back, and they moved their office without notifying anyone until the day before. I even made an appointment online and it gave the old address. Just not the most professional agency in my opinion

4 joe January 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

i applied for a twic in aug 2008. after 3 months they called me and told me that i need to fill out a waiver for a drug poss. charge i had in 2001. i was ajudicated of guilt and all rights were restored. voteing,guns, exct…. its now jan6 2010 and iv called them 20 times emailed them even more and no 1 knows anything about anything. typical goverment craP.

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