A port of call for security

October 2006 Integrated Solutions

With the threat of global terror constantly being highlighted, measures have been instituted at airports, embassies and ­borders worldwide to increase and ­improve security.

Another key area of concern is the security of seaports. In addition to terror threats such as explosives, weapons or biological agents, smuggling and drug and human trafficking are rife.

Traditionally cargo has been scanned using X-ray and gamma ray technology. However, only a percentage of cargo is shown using these technologies and manual examination of cargo is not a viable option due to the sheer volume moving in and out of ports and the time taken to examine each container.

The range of Rapiscan Africa's solutions is well-suited for deployment in port applications, utilising X-ray, gamma source, and neutron analysis to detect threats. X-ray and gamma technologies rely on operators to analyse results. X-ray employs high energy and linear accelerator sources to penetrate the densest cargo and produce quality images. Gamma ray has a lower radiation field and thus smaller operational area.

Neutron analysis, either thermal neutron analysis (TNA) or pulsed fast neutron analysis (PFNA), is automated and is both material and position specific. PFNA identifies cargo based on material specific signatures and is able to scan quickly and effectively with a high throughput and low false alarm rates.

The Rapiscan Eagle is a mobile, high energy X-ray system that can scan vehicles and cargo containers rapidly, accurately and in a single pass. This solution utilises linear accelerator X-ray sources which ensures the penetration of the densest cargo. The Rapiscan Eagle is fully self-contained, highly manoeuvrable and user friendly.

"The combination of technologies is also key. This is evident in the use of neutron analysis in connection with the other technologies. This ensures a total scanning solution capable of detecting a wide variety of threats," says Nicholas O'Connor, chief executive, Rapiscan Africa.

The Rapiscan PFNA TCIS utilises neutron analysis to detect threats in containers and trucks. This technology does not rely on human interpretation of images and scans fully loaded containers quickly, automatically and non-intrusively. The system relies on a comprehensive database of material signatures to identify cargo and can be constantly updated as new threats arise. Operators are notified if contraband is detected or if a cargo signature cannot be found in the database.

O'Connor concludes that the presence of high energy scanning technologies in ports is essential considering the amount of traffic routed through South African harbours.

"Durban's container terminal, for example, is the largest in South Africa and one of the busiest in the southern hemisphere. It is a strategic centre with links to the Far East, Middle East, South and North America, Australasia and Europe."

For more information contact Lolita Mukwevho, Rapiscan Africa, +27 (0) 11 523 4068, lolita.mukwevho@rapiscanafrica.com

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