The Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard
, in partnership with Golden Gate
Ferry will begin testing advanced explosives detection technology today as
part of the Secure Automated Inspection Lanes (SAIL) project. The 30-day
pilot program will conduct explosives screening on passengers boarding ferries
at the Golden Gate Ferry terminals
in Larkspur, Calif., and will move to the
San Francisco terminal in September. SAIL's purpose is to test the
feasibility of using new technologies while maintaining efficient passenger
screening systems for high volume commuter ferries.
"Deploying and testing explosives detection technology at port facilities
allows us to follow through on our commitment to aggressively enhance security
throughout the entire transportation network," said Ed Gomez, Western Area
Director for TSA. "This new phase of the SAIL program addresses the screening
of passengers, the importance of which has been underlined by recent world
The SAIL pilot program uses document scanners and other explosives
detection equipment to screen passengers. The tests will be conducted Monday
through Friday, starting with off-peak departures, and expanding to include
commuter trips during rush hour.
Prior to boarding, passengers will be handed a card that explains the
program and can capture explosive material. The card will be handed back to a
TSA screener who will scan the card and analyze it for explosive material
using the detection equipment. If the card shows the presence of explosive
material, the passenger will undergo secondary screening; the cards will then
be destroyed in the presence of the passenger.
"The Coast Guard is excited about working with TSA and Golden Gate Bridge,
Highway and Transportation District on this important effort to improve port
security," said Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, commander, Coast Guard Pacific
Area. "We expect to gather a wealth of information from this test."
According to Maureen Middlebrook, President of the Board of Directors,
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, "We are exceedingly
proud to be the first public commuter ferry operation in the United States to
be selected for TSA's SAIL program. Testing passenger screening technologies
for potential use during times of heightened alerts is essential for the
future of ferry passenger security."