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Gamma Neutron Scanners

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It has been confirmed today that Portsmouth Ferry Port has become the first port to be fitted with these detectors.

 

These detectors can find any trace of radioactive material in the area - the matter needed to make a dirty bomb.

 

Every vehicle arriving in Portsmouth by sea will be scanned by a hand held rod attached to a digital display to record the level of radiation given off, and those that set off detectors will be searched or siezed.

 

Information source: The News, Portsmouth, Wednesday, April 7th 2004, Pages 1,3,6.

 

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

These gamma ray detectors were tested at Dover and Portsmouth last year. Trouble is lots of things including tins of dog food set them off!! The intention is to roll these detectors out across all ro-ro ports in the country. This is relatively straightforward as all vehicles pass them after they leave the ship. The difficulty is going to be installing them at container terminals which are probably the most likely route for this stuff to enter the country.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

"Gamma Neutron Scanner" I thought that it was only existing in Star-Trek. Does Mr Spok now work for Portsmouth port?

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

"Gamma Neutron Scanner" I thought that it was only existing in Star-Trek. Does Mr Spok now work for Portsmouth port?

 

From the information that I have been able to illicit, this is the technical term for these machines.

 

As for the problems with there use, since the trial/testing period there has been some significant improvements in the technology.

 

With regard to installation in container terminals, trials are being carried out as we speak, and apparently without many problems.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

this is good news and a massive blow to would - be terrorists, thinking of blowing up a ferry - think again!

 

Didnt the OP state that the scanners were used on Arriving vehicles, therefore after disembarkation?

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

asctualy yeah! unless there was some mis-understanding, i can only imagine that inbound vessels would be searched for immagrants and that system would be useless

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

Just a question and hopefully a reasonable one.

 

Whilst travelling as a footie from Roscoff recently, some 200 passengers were passing customs to board the ship, and their bags were placed through x ray. However NOBODY was asked to take off their coat, or pass under a scanner.

 

Whar is the point of x raying bags but not the passengers themselves and their coats?

 

I was the lasdt passenger through and I quereid this. The douane man and woman looked quite embarrasses and then said they would thereofre search me personally,i.e. coat and all pockets. I said fijne,but still questioned the illogical step of not searching the 200 other footies. I mean if I were carrying something I shouldn't I would hardly draw attention to myself.

 

As I tried my best in poor french to point out the farce of all this I was treated really like a piece of dirt by these douane people who were intentionally embarrasing me and any chance of a discussion at the ludicrity of the situation was met with a call of we don't speak English.

 

wm

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

I have noticed the same thing at the customs in Caen, but the customs personell is speaking English there as they asked me every time why I am going to UK if I intend to work there. I asked too once whether the x-raying could damage the film in my camera and got a friendly answer. I think they are generally not too worried that someone could carry enough explosives on body to blow up the whole ferry.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

At Plymouth a hand held scanner is used for searching people as well as walking through a full body scanner! and luggage through an x ray machine

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

I disagree with the comment about Plymouth being the most security wise port. Having recently passed through the port to go on the Pont Aven we found that less than 50% of the foot passengers had themselves and their baggage searched. There was no logic to the decision over who was searched and who wasn't. Infact there were people walking through carrying large boxes who were allowed to pass through security without any questions. Considering we were about to get on a ship to sail to a country where terrorism has been a very recent problem I think this is terrible.

Upon arrival back in the UK I only saw one member of immigration staff and no security staff at all.

I certainly would not call Plymouth secure.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

The government dictate what percentage of passeners are searched and the security are not allowed to search on stereotypes, it has to be random....50% is good, if you imagine trying to search 50% of ALL foot passengers, freight, coaches and cars at Dover? the ships were never sail and would you be prepared to pay the extra on your ticket for the extra security guards? I think not! What does it matter regarding security when you get off the ship? If the government of the day say that only 1 immigration officer is required for arriving foot passengers that is their decision. If you have any issues regarding the security of any airport or port then I suggest you write to the port or airport owners. For BF ports that would be ABP, Portsmouth City Council and Poole Harbour Commissioners as it is they not the operators who ensure that the Aviation and Maritime Security Act is adhered to.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

At Portsmouth all foot passengers are required to have their bags scanned and walk through metal detectors.

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

Well i have obviously upset John by my comments and although I thought this forum was created for people to put there comments on I seem to have misunderstood its purpose.

As a regular traveller through Portsmouth I know that ALL foot passengers have their luggage scanned and they are ALL required to walk through the metal detector.

I also know that the required percentage of vehicles to be taken through the search bay before embarkation is 25%.

Others may feel that the threat of terrorism in this country is not real, I believe that it is. The recent events in Spain have proved that we cannot be complacent as a country about our security. The security guards in Plymouth didn't seem to care about what was going on and appeared more concerned that we were disturbing their conversation than what was in our luggage.

The terrorist threat against a new ship is very real and the Spanish authorities seem to understand this, why don't we seem to have the same level of concern or interest?

I'm sorry if I have misunderstood the point of this forum but please tell me its purpose if it is not to express opinion and discuss current issues. If everytime someone posts a message they get a reply such as I did they will be very quickly put off using such a site. Considering a lot of things mentioned on this forum are incorrect and cannot be corrected due to the confidential nature of the information prehaps people shoud think before they speak.

 

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

Interesting topic....I am convinced there is a risk of an attack on the U.K. I also think that any additonal security measures are welcome - Common sense must prevail, though. If, for example, after the outrageous and tragic attack in Madrid, I cancelled my Spanish holiday booking, does that not play into the hands of terrorists. I don't think we shoul take unnecessary risks, but I do think individuals need to be more vigilant and aware, and not hesitant in reporting "strange goings on" to the authorities. I am sure that even though port operators are resposnible for security in their ports, BF captains are responsible for the safety of their passengers, and their vessel, and would take action based upon any inforamtion they are given

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

I do not understand.

 

They check you in Pompey, and sometimes in Plymouth and half in Rosko, b ut not in Dover or Calais.

 

Why are security arrangements so different?

 

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Re:Gamma Neutron Scanners

 

As John says, the level of overt security is dictated by the Government and is based on intelligence received and the likelihood of a threat. If a specific threat on a known target is made, then security would obviously be increased - as was the case with the BA Washington flights. Waterloo has no armed troops walking around, but get to Gare Du Nord on Eurostar and you will see armed troops all over. At present, Eurostar are screening 100% of passengers and have done so since 9/11. This is not however a requirement under the current threat level. Just an example of the differing responses to increased security. A lot of security is behind the scenes and is more concerned with observing and tracking people.

 

Remember also that ports / airports have to have enough staff on payroll to meet any increase in a threat. If 100% screening of all passengers is required then they will need to have the resources to carry out the search. Plymouth and Poole both have less traffic than Portsmouth so perhaps have a smaller pool of security on duty at any one time. Portsmouth would I assume have more staff on duty and so would need to do something with the staff. The security personel that monitor the Xray machines are also supposed to have regular breaks to ensure that they remain alert and not become brain dead.

 

From past courses attended, the perceived threat against a ferry has always been considered low. The ability to ensure that firstly enough explosive was used, the uncertainty as to the loading position (garage deck, open deck or even cancelled / delayed sailing), and the inability to cause massive immediate casualties (the major goal of the terrorist) meant that the threat was never considered particularly serious. Far easier and dramatic to blow up a shopping center / train station etc or some land based target for easy full media coverage and maximum exposure.

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