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Ports get 4 container scanners

Published: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Custom technicians view the new Mobile Container Scanner at the Port of Point Lisas yesterday. PICTURE ANISTO ALVES

Violent crime, fuelled by illegal narcotics and weapons, has had an adverse effect on the landscape of T&T. However, the influx of this type of contraband is expected to be addressed with the implementation of four mobile container scanners at two of the country’s major ports at Point Lisas and Port-of-Spain.

The scanners were gifted by the US government at a cost of US$7.2 million and two of them were unveiled at the Port of Point Lisas yesterday. Mounted on a rugged truck chassis, the Mobile VACIS system helps trained operators see the contents of closed vehicles and containers and can support a wide variety of scanning scenarios.

Speaking at the official launch of the Customs and Excise Container Scanner initiative, acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Colm Imbert said he strongly believes the deployment of mobile scanning technology will focus on combating the importation of all contraband, specifically narcotics, illegal firearms and ammunition.

He said the initial operator training and maintenance operations for the scanners was US$2,449,662 and the present three-year maintenance contract with manufacturers Leidos Corporation, which took effect from October 1, 2017 and includes further operator and image analysis training, will cost US$1,467,895.

Imbert said the mobile units provide flexibility and due to their versatility and small footprint requirements, can be used at other locations for special operations. “They will serve as an effective tool in assisting the Government in providing added security to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” Imbert said.

“The scanners are designed to detect weapons and hazardous materials, combat the flow of illegal drugs and including human trafficking, which is becoming a more serious threat everyday.”

Imbert said the scanners will also assist in revenue collection as it will give them the ability to verify manifests of cargo and detect undeclared cargo. He said he will personally hold the Customs and Excise Division responsible should the scanners fail to work.

“Make sure it continues to work. There’s a tendency when we launch new things within a day it stops working for one reason or another and I will hold Customs and Excise personally responsible for that. I expect these scanners to continue working and only be down for maintenance and repairs,” Imbert said.

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan meanwhile said there were a few infrastructural works to be completed at the Port of Port-of-Spain but expects the other scanners will be up and running by the end of June.

Point Lisas Industrial Development Corporation chairman Ian Atherly, in his address, said there are 200 CCTV cameras placed at strategic locations at the Port, including warehouses and industrial estates. He said some of the cameras are already integrated with the national security infrastructure and GPS tracking technology has also been installed on the port’s operating equipment.

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