TSA and the New York City Department of Transportation Announce Pilot to Test Passive Explosives Detection Technology at the Staten Island Ferry

Apr 03, 2007, 01:00 ET from Transportation Security Administration

    NEW YORK, April 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Transportation
 Security Administration (TSA), in partnership with the New York City
 Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), will begin testing advanced
 explosives detection technology today as part of the agency's Security
 Enhancement and Capabilities Augmentation Program (SEACAP). During the
 three-week pilot program, TSA will conduct explosives screening on
 passengers boarding the Staten Island Ferry at the St. George Terminal in
 Staten Island using passive millimeter wave screening equipment. The
 purpose of the project is to test the performance of new technologies to
 detect explosives while maintaining efficient passenger operations for high
 volume commuter ferries.
     "SEACAP is one in a series of pilot programs TSA has designed to
 evaluate and determine the effectiveness of emerging explosive detection
 technologies in the maritime environment," said John Sammon, TSA Assistant
 Administrator, Transportation Sector Network Management (TSNM). "This is
 yet another tool the agency can use to respond to specific threats that
 arise from new intelligence or major events."
     The SEACAP pilot employs passive millimeter wave technology to screen
 passengers for person-borne explosives before they board the ferry to lower
 Manhattan. Because the technology does not use whole body imaging, privacy
 issues will not be a concern. Testing will occur Monday through Friday
 during off-peak hours.
     Prior to boarding, passengers will move through the terminal's
 turnstiles at their normal pace. The screening equipment will be angled to
 passively screen passengers as they pass through turnstiles to enter the
 ferry terminal waiting area. Passengers will not be asked to stand in
 place, nor will they even need to break stride. Video images of the scanned
 passengers will be monitored by TSA's Transportation Security Officers
 (TSOs) from a station set up to the side of the waiting area. The TSOs in
 the monitoring station will be in communication with roving TSOs and will
 notify them of any passengers who display an anomaly. An abbreviated pat
 down area will be available for resolution of those anomalies and
 TSA-certified explosive detection canine teams will be available to screen
 passengers' baggage.
     "Over 65,000 people a day pass through this terminal and ride the
 Staten Island ferry," said DOT Commissioner Weinshall. "We are happy to
 work with TSA and the Coast Guard to ensure that we are doing everything
 possible to keep the ferry and our passengers safe."
     For further information about TSA, please visit our web site at
     Media Contacts:  Ann Davis/TSA
                      Kay Sarlin/NYC DOT

SOURCE Transportation Security Administration