By now, we are all familiar with the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems (VACIS) used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to scan import cargo. The machines use gamma ray imaging technology that allow inspectors to see through the walls of ocean containers to reveal what’s on the inside.
To speed up the Congressionally legislated 100% scanning of imported cargo, U.S. Customs experimenting with much larger a machine capable of scanning an entire ocean vessel as it arrives in port. Called Stationary Vessel and Cargo Inspection System (SVACIS, wittingly referred to as SuperVACIS), the machines will be positioned at the entrances of major U.S. harbors.
Pictured here is the original test SVACIS situated between New York’s Long Island on the left and Staten Island on the right. Another SVACIS is already located at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
Environmentalists condemn the devices as being potentially harmful to marine species. CBP officials respond that, “The fish can always opt for a pat down”.
Does this sound far-fetched? Happy April Fool’s Day!