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Press Release

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Contact:
TSA Press Office
(571) 227-2829

April 3, 2007

Media Contacts:
Ann Davis/TSA – 617-733-8437
Kay Sarlin/NYC DOT – 212-442-7033

Photo of passive millimeter wave device.  Photo Courtesy Staten Island Advance.

NEW YORK – 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."

Photo of passive millimeter wave device.  Photo Courtesy Staten Island Advance.

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.

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