TSA begins pilot test of explosives detection technology at Port Jefferson Ferry

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Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. – The Transportation Security Administration, in conjunction with the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, today begins a three-week pilot test of explosives screening of vehicles at the Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal. The pilot employs backscatter imaging technology to screen vehicles for explosives before they are driven onto the Port Jefferson-Bridgeport Ferry at Port Jefferson.

"Vehicle screening technology is yet another tool that TSA can deploy to respond to threats that arise from new intelligence or as part of major events," said John Sammon, TSA Assistant Administrator, Office of Transportation Sector Network Management. "This test will allow us to develop a plan for future deployment during times of heightened security threat levels."

Prior to boarding, drivers will proceed slowly past a backscatter screening van which will capture high-quality, photo-like images of a vehicle's cargo and contents. After being screened, drivers will be instructed by TSA transportation security officers to stop for approximately 10-15 seconds while the images are evaluated. If it is determined that there are no explosives in the vehicle, the driver will then be directed to the vehicle staging area. If there is a need for additional screening, drivers will be directed to a secondary screening location where TSA-certified explosive detection canine teams will be available to inspect vehicles.

"More than one million passengers pass through this terminal annually and ride the Port Jefferson ferry," said Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry Vice President Frederick A. Hall. "By working with TSA, Homeland Security and local law enforcement, we are helping to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep our customers, employees, terminals and vessels safe."

Testing will occur Monday through Friday. The backscatter van has passed government standards for health and safety which enables drivers to move past the van without having to exit their vehicles.

For further information about TSA, please visit our Web site at www.tsa.gov. To provide feedback on this or other security issues visit TSA's blog at www.tsa.gov/blog.