News / USA

US Port Security Technology Evolving

TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Lee

Millions of containers from around the world enter ports throughout the United States every year.  The threat to U.S. national security at these ports have grown in the last decade and so has security.  At a recent technology conference near Los Angeles, companies were able to show off their latest inventions in high tech security.

At two of the busiest ports in the United States, thousands of containers come and go every day.   

John Holmes with the Port of Los Angeles says 10 years ago security around here was not a priority.

"Not even fences or lights or signs," said Holmes. "It was just [a] very open atmosphere where the big focus was moving cargo through."

But everything changed after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.   U.S. ports have become a potential target because most of the goods that come into the U.S. come by the ocean.

"Every single container does get screened.  Everything that comes off the ship goes through radiation detection equipment," added Holmes.

The ports of Los Angeles have different high-tech devices that look for bombs, chemical and biological weapons.

Michael McMullen with the Port of Long Beach says technology is a big component of security.

"Most of the security that we do today is really done almost in a virtual state," he said.

McMullen says there are underwater sonar sensors, high-tech radars that detect every ship within 11 kilometers of the port and hundreds of cameras above ground.  In a room filled with computers and video monitors of all sizes, security analysts can track everything that goes on in and around the port complex.  The port has shared the technology with personnel from Latin America and Asia so they can learn how these high tech systems are integrated and apply them to their own port security.

"Ports may all be a little bit different, but what we're trying to do is very similar," Holmes explained.

To share information, John Holmes says the Port of Los Angeles held a port security summit last year with countries that included China, Korea and Israel.  Holmes says ports around the world are vulnerable, using the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India as an example.

"In Mumbai, the attacks actually came from the water," he said.

Security experts say exchanging information will help them stay current with all the new high-tech devices on the market.  At a technology conference near Los Angeles, Fred Aldrich is trying to sell a container scanning system.  It would go on a ship and scan stacks of containers before they reach land.   

"Our system would be installed at the foreign ports and scanning and detection happens 24/7 autonomously," Aldrich said.

Craig Crawford with 3-D Image Tek, is trying to find buyers for his machine that converts video from 2-D to 3-D. He says 3-D images provide depth and detail.  He says it can be used for night surveillance or even to diffuse a bomb.

"It actually puts human eyes right on the threat then they can manipulate it just like a surgeon would be during a surgery looking at the wires identifying the threat," said Crawford.

Port of Long Beach's Michael McMullen says in the next two years, he expects 3-D technology to be one component of security at his port that will help improve communication by providing even more detailed information.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid