It’s finally here! Today, April 15th, 2009, ushers in a new national holiday for all mariners. National TWIC Day, no doubt, will be celebrated with great enthusiasm by mariners everywhere. Who amongst us doesn’t feel that powerful rush of patriotic pride and fervor whenever they gaze lovingly at their TWIC? It definitely gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. And given the state of the world’s economy I also get a warm-fuzzy knowing that Lockheed-Martin is profiting handsomely from the TWIC program. Big defense contractors gotta eat too, ya know! I also feel better as I lay my head down on the pillow to get one of my two daily cat naps while working 6 & 6 watches: I no longer scowl with constant suspicion at my formerly-TWICless fellow crewmembers, wondering if they are really bloodthirsty terrorists in disguise, just waiting for their moment to pounce. I’ve never napped so well!
To kick off the new TWIC epoch I’ll direct you to last week’s editorial written by Workboat Magazine’s David Krapf, and brought to you via Capt. Richard Rodriguez’ excellent BitterEnd blog. Krapf does a wonderful job of pointing out the faulty decision-making and absurdity that led us down the primrose path to TWICdom. And he also points out something else that’s worth noting: The American Waterways Operators, the towing and barge industry’s primary trade association, fought hard to minimize the impacts of the card reader requirements and at this they were successful. It’s the only moment of sanity to come out of the whole TWIC program so far and the MTVA commends them for their efforts. We only wish that they, and the Coast Guard, had applied that same sanity before they combined forces to push their insane 30-Day Wonder Rule into towing vessel pilothouses across America. It’s also interesting to note that no matter what the particular issue and what position the Coast Guard starts out from, for good or for ill, in the end they almost always seem to see things AWO‘s way. I guess that’s what having an office full of lobbyists near Congress and Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. will do for you.
But enough grousing for now. Rejoice, mariners, rejoice! We’re all living in the land of the TWIC! Don’t you feel safer?