CBC invests $3M in high-tech cargo scanner

| 04/02/2022 | 41 Comments

(CNS): Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) has acquired a new high-tech cargo scanner to improve security and the service’s ability to intercept contraband and undeclared items entering the country in containers. Government has paid US$3.1 million for the machine which officials said combines high-energy x-ray imaging with integrated equipment identification for inspecting cargo containers for a host of unwelcome goods, from nuclear and hazardous material to drugs and guns.

On average more than 20,500 containers, ranging in size from 20 feet to over 45 feet, come into Cayman every year, making the monitoring of contraband and undeclared imports a challenge. The new non-intrusive cargo scanner uses low-dose radiation, which allows it to be installed without shield walls or containment structures of any kind.

Senior CBC Deputy Bruce Smith explained that the scanner uses advanced screening technology that can anticipate and detect potential threats quickly and safely. “This helps us to facilitate the legitimate flow of cargo entering the country while also ensuring that our officers can carry out their duties in a safe manner,” he said.

Past experience has demonstrated that non-intrusive screening of containers entering the Islands is successful at detecting undeclared goods and various contraband.

CBC Director Charles Clifford said it will enhance CBC’s law enforcement capabilities and support interdiction efforts to reduce the illicit importation of drugs, firearms, and other weapons. “It is a critical component of our overall border control strategy and is complemented by tactical physical inspections and intelligence-led risk management activities,” he added.

CBC officers have undergone a full operators training course to bolster the effectiveness of the system, which was supplied by the American defense, aviation, information technology, and biomedical research company Leidos. This followed a procurement process for the multi-million dollar kit, which was budgeted during the previous administration but has been welcomed by the PACT Government.     

Border Control Minister Chris Saunders said the government considers border security a high priority and will take all necessary measures to keep the Islands safe.

“As a government, we are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that the Cayman Islands remains one of the safest places in the world to live, work and vacation,” he said. “This project is certainly an important part of our overall strategy to achieve this objective.”

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Category: Border Control, Crime, Crime Prevention, Customs

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is a fact (supported by evidence every day, month, year) that most employees in Cayman’s public services DO NOT CARE about being prudent with public funds. The general concept is “spend, spend” or in fact “waste, waste”.

    I was a senior officer in a SAGC and was once presented by a junior officer, with a quotation of $1000 for an office chair. I simply asked that officer if he would spend $1000 on an office chair for himself at home. The response was “Are you crazy, sir?”. My response to him was, “then why think that I will approve $1000 for a chair for your office?”.

    I dispatched him with that. Later the same day, he returned with a quotation from Cost-U-Less for $200 for a similar and suitable chair.

    That was only one example of the lack of (or attempted lack of) fiscal responsibility I witnessed.

    • Anonymous says:

      So the system worked. This is why you have senior and junior officers. And in a few years the now senior officer will recount that story when turning down the new junior officer’s expense request.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CIG with the motto “if it’s not broken, break it and spend millions on it but if it is broken sweep it under the table” what happens to the EW arterial? 3hrs to get from eastern districts and yet it doesn’t even get the time of day from our so called ministers.

  3. Guido Marsupio says:

    Maybe we can use it to scan for green iguanas or raccoons.

  4. Anonymous says:


    “…these systems require that the driver drives its vehicle through irradiation area, in a situation where members of the public (the truck drivers) enter in controlled area and are deliberately exposed to high-energy beam.

    Some manufacturers justifies (sic) this procedure arguing that the drivers are exposed briefly, and only to the scattered beam, since there are safety systems in order to avoid that the drivers are exposed to direct beam.

    The results to point out that the dose to drivers depend strongly of the type of cargo carried. It should be emphasized that the dose to drivers can also be affected by how the cargo is distributed on the container.

    It should be emphasized that the justification of this scanning procedure shall take into account consideration of existence of legal or ethical issues associated, because the exposure of drivers should not be a matter of operational convenience. This procedure not produces benefits for exposed individuals and the security benefits to society could be obtained without the exposure of drivers.


    • Anonymous says:

      So this type of scanner is common in many places. I have worked with one in a highly controlled nuclear facility,where personal dose level are monitored for all employees and visitors. There was no issue with their use there, so I suggest there is highly unlikely to be any issue of excessive radiation dose here.

    • Anonymous says:

      If doses at this level were an issue, pilots would not be allowed to fly. They receive a much higher annual dose than any driver near one of these things daily.
      Understanding radiation is hard, but it is not anywhere near as scary and dangerous as most people believe.

      – A physicist, and former nuclear engineer.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Add this to the list of “Stuff” that’s broken, weather radar, license plates, ticket machines at the airport, CCTV and garbage trucks. Parts on order…..soon come. And now Cayman can boast about glow in the dark truck driver from all the radiation ☢️☢️☢️☢️☢️☢️

    • Anonymous says:

      On the broken list you can add: Immigration System. Jobs Cayman Portal. Education System.

      Well done CIG. Decades with no accountability. You have really screwed it up!

      • Anonymous says:

        You left out the pensions system. The worst of it is that at almost EVERY stage, they were warned. They shot the messenger and moved forward in blatant disregard for their own country and the interests of the people of these Islands. The Governor kept grinning, the Ombudsman avoided stepping on toes for the duration of her pleasant stay, Franz issued awards, and the Caymanian people got screwed.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder of they purchased dosimeters and know how to use it. Not too many drivers in Cayman who work for CBC, therefore they will be exposed again and again. And radiation is not a virus, one accumulate radiation dose and “shares” with others. Vehicles probably also become radioactive, unless they are de-contaminated regularly and properly.

  6. Truth says:

    Soon come. The 3 million dollar x-ray machine is not operational at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience. No one on island knows how to fix it and expats can’t work for CIG. The weather radar hasn’t been functional for over a year now.

  7. Miami Retirement Fund says:

    12:24 Absolutely no value for money there my friend Just a retirement nest egg for those from the motherland selling us inflated junk. We shall hear nothing further of it, I can assure you !

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow all that money down the tube yet the UK rep who sold that piece of rubbish is living the life on some sunny beach no doubt with a fat bank account. Poor old Cayman paying for the jollies of so many !Not a peep out of those of Govern this island eh ? Their silence speaks volumes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    First HM Customs arranged to use CAA’s/CIAA’s cargo x-ray scanner (2003 to about 2005)… no problem

    Then CBC (HM Customs) bought it’s own x-ray machine and installed in the cargo processing warehouse (not in a clean environment). Due to poor location and maintenance the machine failed in about 2 years. Then HM Customs bought the mobile x-ray scanner. What happened to that?

    Then HM Customs/CBC bought the large drive-through scanner and built the drive-thru for it. What happened to that?

    Now CBC has bought another drive-through x-ray scanner??!! WTF??

    No concept of stewardship of public funds!

    • Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

      8.57am Thanks for reciting the history all of which is true, yet now we are buying yet another scanner.Messrs Smith and Clifford seem to have short memories.
      How many big busts of drugs, guns and contraband goods did they make with the previous scanners?. Have they managed to scan 56 containers every day for the last few years?.

      • Anonymous says:

        If they don’t spend the money in their budget, they lose it. Sad reality.

        • Anonymous says:

          So. Reduce the budget? Provide performance based incentives based on detection and prosecution and efficiency and customer service..?

        • Anonymous says:

          06 @ 7:54 am – that is the concept in Government but is it prudent? If one budgets their own funds during a given period and have some left over, would one just blow it just to get rid of it? I doubt it but Government Departments think that’s how it works. Absolutely no concept of ending a fiscal year under the assigned expense budget!

          It’s the same concept with allotted sick days. These days are allotted to be available only if they’re needed. However, the general concept is that “I have 10 sick days, so I must take them – sick or not”…as if they’re extra vacation.

          Warped sense of entitlement, especially in the lack of stewardship of public resources!

    • Anonymous says:

      Did they orignally have one inside?

      • Anonymous says:

        Did they orignally have one inside? Does anyone know the answer?

        • Anonymous says:

          07 @ 10:55am and 6:59pm – Yes, CBC originally had an x-ray machine inside the warehouse. It was placed in a dusty environment, uncovered and it failed within two years.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Since they received the training,

    YEARLY LIMIT (mrem)?

    • What are the Sources of Exposure?

    • Who will be monitoring the CBC officers exposure?

    • How the risks of any unintended exposure to the operator, drivers or bystanders will be reduced?

    •The dose received by the driver carrying containers is main safety concern for drive through systems. As per international recommendations the dose limits per scan for the drivers should not exceed 0.25 µSv.

    • Is CBC going to monitor Radiation Exposure of the operators and drivers? Would operators and drivers be wearing personnel dosimeters?

    • Anonymous says:

      They probably need to hire consultants to answer these questions, for they have no idea what this is about.

      Just like with new Health City building construction nobody talks about health hazards “new” things bring to the Cayman residents. I thought HCCI would timely respond to the expressed by members of the public radiation safety concerns, yet, they remain silent. But unlike CBC they know exactly that it is about. And I am sure they read comments.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “CBC officers have undergone a full operators training course…” Did it include ☢️radiation safety training?

    There is no ☢️Radiation Safety Act in Cayman. How CBC officers will be protected from high-energy x-rays in the abcense of Laws and Regulations? I don’t see any ☢️radiation warning signs on the photos. How members of the public will be protected?

    “To call anything based on high energy X-rays ‘low energy’ is worse than 1984 doublespeak” because radiation emitted by the scanners “goes right through the person” sitting in a vehicle, he says. (High energy X-rays can penetrate not only human flesh, but steel plates that are multiple centimeters thick.)


  12. Anonymous says:

    … low-dose radiation…

    …so nuking all contents of each container…There is no escape from toxicity in Grand Cayman…The Dump, The Dump’s fires, Mosquito control chemicals, Noise pollution, not regulated Radioactive, Biomedical waste and Unfiltered incinerator emissions…

    Once again Radiation Act, Radiation safety Regulations were established in Bermuda in 1972.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like 5G which is high powered microwave radiation. No problem says the cellular companies.

      • Guido Marsupio says:

        Nah, it’s Xrays or Gamma or some such. 5G does not go through containers. Think of the scanners at the airport where you stand with your hands up.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Most likely got sent to the dump and bulldozed along with it’s radioactive source material.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anyone with a modicum of scientific knowledge will know that these scanners will use very high frequency, small wavelength, highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation.
    It is practically like being X-rayed. I hope the drivers are nowhere near when the scan takes place.
    What the hell is this mad world coming to?
    We don’t want to be spied on, wiretapped, harrassed and generally bullied by our government. They are supposed to find the real criminals and I suggest they look inwards before outwards.
    Look. In life, only truth counts.

  15. Anonymous says:

    so what happened to the last scanner they bought?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you want to know? It is in the storage with all the other things the goverment blows money on and never uses. Get PPM Roy to explain it to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the magnificent garage that was purpose built to protect it.

      I drive that road often, I have never seen the scanner parked in the garage.

      Sweet place to park your car in the shade though.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry. Franz and the Governor will confirm the waste and misuse of government funds is being investigated, and then they they will retire, and that will be the last we hear.

        • Anonymous says:

          They will launch an investigation into why you are as good awkward questions.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have no doubt. Their priorities are so skewed they are wondering why they cannot see anything that the rest of us do, in part because their heads are now up their own backsides. At least it helps them maintain deniability. God only knows what the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police, and Ombudsman have as an excuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      04 @ 12:24pm – The very expensive Mercedes-Benz mobile x-ray scanner has been parked outdoors in the weather for years. It’s presently parked on the CBC cargo compound on Portland Road. Next move – Mt. Trashmore landfill!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Next to the fingerprint machines.

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