Discussion About Explosive Detection Canines In Freight Security

With Mr. Oren Sapir – CEO DiagNose SAS
Sir, thanks for taking the time for this discussion. We understand that your company offers a new cargo security clearance service called rascargo. Please tell our readers in which ways RASCargo differs from hand search and x-ray screening

Detection systems are all evaluated today on three main parameters. Those parameters are detection rates, false positive rates, and cargo volume screened per a given time. Since RASCargO is a system which is based on scent detection in huge volumes, and by the most precise detector in the world (Canines), it has outstanding performance in all of those three factors. All other offered methods achieve good results in only two of those three factors, which illustrate the benefits offered by RASCargO.
I let you imagine how long it would take to hand search a 40ft truck, while RASCargO can screen it in 15 minutes, with extremely high detection rates and the lowest False alarm rates currently identified, and more or less the same goes for X-ray.

Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction (R.A.S.C.O.) seems to imply that the samples are taken to the canine rather than having the sniffer dogs checking the cargo directly. Is there a reason for such a check?

There are a couple of reasons for that. The first one is based on the well known fact that while explosives detection dogs search continuously they get very tired after about 30 minutes of work. In RASCargO a canines will clear a container in a second of sniffing its associated filter, thus escalating its capacity (about 150 filters per shift), and without tiring the canines at all. Another reason is the ability to control climate conditions in a supervised analysis center, which creates best conditions for the dogs to perform at their best.

It is known that RASCargo has been researched for years by D.E.R.A. as a means of clearing ?unknown? cargo. Do you anticipate it eventually been recognized as an approved method for ?known? cargo?

The RASCO method was invented in Europe and adapted for transport security, thanks to the creativity and vision of the UK government. It is in the UK under DfT and DSTL that most of the research and modification of the system was made. In the last two years the French regulators got involved as well and contributed with input of high value to the system. As a fact we know that screening all cargo, is a very challenging task. Therefore, an optimisation of routines is required for targeting the unknown freight at first. Imposing screening on known freight might be a burden on the industry, which could risk competence of processes, which are so important to the aviation security industry. However, as a spot check RASCargO could be a very valuable tool, since it is very friendly to current processes and does not require major changes.

What is the smallest amount of explosive, which can be traced, or would it be any amount?

This information is a function of mass per volume, and we have very credible data on the detection capabilities, which are very encouraging. The authorities, which should know about that, have this sensible information.

Are the dogs trained on a several scents or do they specialize on specifics?

Explosives detection dogs can memorize up until 12-15 different scents. They are trained on the scents which are required by regulators and which change from time to time. Once a canine is trained on the system, adding a new target scent is a matter of 10 days approximately.

With increased security measures, time becomes an issue regarding cargo loading. How does RASCargO fare as far as time is concerned?

RASCargO is certainly the fastet way to screen big volumes. In some models, which we apply today, the freight is being inspected during its idle time. That means that while goods is stocked during 30 minutes to an hour while its paper work is being done, our team collects vapour samples from that freight, delivers them to the analysis center, and sends the approval in less than 30 minutes. During all that time almost no change for current processes of the cargo agent or airline is made.

Do they receive a different training from the explosives detection dogs usually used to detect bombs at public events, etc?

The training, which is the heart of the system, and the actual intellectual property of that system, is very different from conventional canines. Conventional detection dogs would be very poor RASCargO dogs and vice versa, even though they are all trained as explosives detection dogs.

Are the canines trained according to the airport, port or location?

The training has several defined stages, and one of them is the adaptation to local needs. Climate conditions are not much of an issue here, since the dogs work in a climate controlled closed area. But the dogs need to get familiar with the environment in order for them to perform at their best. We believe that it is our duty to create the best conditions for the dogs to succeed. once this is achieved, the dogs are the best possible detectors.

How does the false alarm rates compare with other traditional methods?

The system uses two canines for the examination of each filter. The results are being introduced into a matrix, which gives the search result of a run made by two dogs. As a result, the systems False alarm rate is extremely low, in the range of 1% – 2%.

Which advantages you can tell your readers that RASCargO has over hand-search?
Very simple. Higher detection rates and speed of clearance, which is unmatched.

We understand that RASCargO is been in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. What can you tell us about the results?
The results are very encouraging, we already serve on regular basis major players such as DHL, Panalpina, Lan Cargo and many others. Clients are very satisfied and the fact that business grows steadily is a good indicator for that satisfaction. As per detection rates and false positives, I cannot say the level, but I can say that it is better by far in comparison to other systems.

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