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Docks X-ray scanner repairs and maintenance cost almost $1m over two years

Costly equipment: the X-ray machine building at the City of Hamilton docks (File photograph)

A key weapon in the war against drugs, firearms and other contraband has been under repair for two years, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

But a government spokeswoman insisted that the $2.6 million hi-tech Customs X-ray scanner at Hamilton Docks had remained operational for most of the time.

Records showed that the Customs gantry X-ray scanner — deployed to examine the contents of the hundreds of containers unloaded each week — had cost the Government almost $1 million in repairs and maintenance.

Information released under public access to information rules revealed that the Government paid $964,600 for “ongoing” repairs and maintenance to the device between September 2019 and August 2021.

The Royal Gazette first e-mailed questions to the Government about the scanner two weeks ago.

Officials were asked the reasons for the repair bill and for how long the equipment was out of commission while repairs were carried out.

A spokesman said this week: “The scanner was commissioned in September 2012 at a cost of $2.6 million.

“This is a high-value asset that is an important tool in protecting the borders of Bermuda and maintaining trade with the United States.

“To ensure its continued safe operation and minimise downtime, a programme of preventive maintenance has been in place, which would also apply to a replacement unit.”

The equipment was supplied by the Nuctech Company, a Chinese security firm.

The spokeswoman added: “The maintenance of the scanner is highly technical and, since its commission, Nuctech has provided this service.

“As a result, the scanner has been in continuous use since its commissioning, with virtually no downtime required for repairs.”

Calls to Nuctech’s US branch this week were answered by voicemail.

The Pati release also revealed that the Customs department was to spend more than $1 million over the next five years to maintain its computer systems.

The department has set aside $1.2 million for work on the Customs Automated Processing System — or CAPS — until 2025.

The system is the main database and processing tool used in connection with declared imports and exports.

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Published February 18, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated February 18, 2022 at 7:50 am)

Docks X-ray scanner repairs and maintenance cost almost $1m over two years

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