Meeting the TWIC Mandate

Industry Vertical

Meeting the TWIC Mandate

Louisiana’s Port Fourchon makes security an important dialog

The Greater Lafourche Port Commission, located on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, facilitates the economic growth of the communities in which it operates by maximizing the flow of trade and commerce. Because of its ideal geographic location in the Gulf of Mexico, Port Fourchon’s primary service market is domestic deepwater oil and gas exploration, drilling, and production of the Gulf of Mexico. Port Fourchon’s tenant companies provide supplies and equipment to more than 90 percent of all deep-water activity in the entire U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

After applying for and receiving a grant, Port Fourchon enlisted the help of Transportation Technology Associates, a technology design, engineering and consulting firm, to assist with the upgrade of its existing AMAG Technology, Symmetry Security System to the Symmetry Homeland Security Edition (HSE) software with Morpho biometric readers. Symmetry Homeland provides powerful integrated access control and security solutions for users, meeting federal standards such as TWIC. Symmetry Homeland secures the Port Commission’s Operations Center in Port Fourchon, LA, which houses the harbor police and its administration building located in Galliano, LA, 25 miles inland. The software primarily secures perimeter doors and the communications rooms within each building.

Port Fourchon users needing access to secure facilities must carry a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to adhere to the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard security program. All people needing unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act must carry a TWIC. The TWIC program provides a tamperresistant biometric credential to maritime workers. Port Fourchon employees use the TWIC card as an ID badge to obtain access to secure areas of the port, including the communications rooms and other areas with critical infrastructure. Morpho biometric readers are mounted on all these access doors.

“It’s a requirement that every port employee have a TWIC to get into the facilities and the communications rooms,” said April Danos, Port Fourchon’s IT director. “Employees who do not carry a TWIC use a different card and only have access to perimeter doors.”

Symmetry integrates with HID Global’s piv- CLASS Validation Engine, pivCLASS Registration Client, pivCLASS PACS Service and pivCLASS Certificate Manager software, and performs a four-factor authentication that includes viewing the photo of the cardholder, matching a PIN, matching a biometric fingerprint and checking the card’s digital certificates against the Cancelled Card List. The list is continuously updated and that information is shared with the Symmetry System for maximum security.

“It’s the port’s responsibility to facilitate access to the Gulf of Mexico for the supply vessels and service providers who keep the oil rigs and platforms up and running to produce approximately 20 percent of the Nation’s oil supply,” said Jeff Brown, Transportation Technology Associates managing partner. “Conducting a risk assessment and implementing a thorough TWIC program with AMAG’s Symmetry Homeland software assures the port commission that they are doing everything in their power to keep their employees and port tenants safe. Our design and construction management ensured that Port Fourchon meets the rigorous TWIC standards.”

The Harbor Police are the primary users of the software, and in addition to the highly-secured communications rooms, which house the port’s main data and infrastructure, they use Symmetry to manage access on perimeter doors, as well as unlock internal doors for meetings and other events.

Threat Level Manager

Port Fourchon installed the threat level manager module to work in accordance with the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security (MARSEC) Levels. With the click of a mouse, the port commission can change security levels for all of its buildings.

“If the MARSEC level changes to a two or three, access to our buildings is more controlled, requiring a swipe and biometric, for example, to gain access,” Danos said. “If there is a threat moving through the port, we can lock down our buildings in an instant for maximum security.”

Threat Level Manager provides a fast way to change the port’s security level, including locking it down in extreme situations.


Port Fourchon is a landlord port, and its large, higher risk tenants are required to comply with the TWIC mandate. Smaller tenants, or tenants whose products are deemed less risky, are not required to use TWIC readers.

Master Plan for Growth

Phase Two of Port Fourchon’s master security plan is to integrate Symmetry with its Milestone video management system, which will link video and access control for better overall security. Phase Three includes integrating Symmetry into the port’s situational awareness system.

“AMAG’s Symmetry Security Management System is easy to use and integrate with our other technologies on site,” Danos said. “We look forward to growing the system, integrating it with our video system and continuing to update and upgrade our security even more at Port Fourchon.”

Transportation Technology Associates, LLC provides vendor-neutral design, engineering and consulting services in the areas of telecommunications systems, telecommunications infrastructure and security systems to a diverse set of clients in the government, aviation, maritime, industrial, healthcare and education markets.

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Security Today.


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