North East technology firm Kromek is cementing its strength in security markets after winning a second long-term contract in the sector this year.
The Sedgefield firm1 , which is based at NETPark, has announced a five-year deal with a new customer which is a leader in X-ray imaging systems. The radiation detection technology company, which also works in the medical and nuclear markets, said the five-year deal is worth $2m ( 1.54m) over the period. The work will see the manufacturer incorporate Kromek s technology into its baggage security screening systems, which will boost detection of an extensive range of threat materials.
This marks the second long-term contract Kromek has signed in the security screening market this year, following the announcement in February of a five-year $3.1m ( 2.39m) agreement with an existing US customer that is an emerging leader and global company in the homeland security marketplace. Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive officer of Kromek, said: We are delighted to secure another long-term contract with a new OEM customer in the security screening market.
This agreement further demonstrates the demand for our products and technology as all OEMs in this arena begin upgrading their legacy systems to bring them in line to detect modern day threats . We look forward to working with this new customer and developing a long-term relationship with them.
The announcement comes just over two weeks after the firm was awarded a new contract by a health sector customer worth at least 4.1m.
The radiation detection specialist already has contracts with the firm, which works in the bone mineral densitometry sector, which involves making detectors which are used to determine a patient s bone quality, helping doctors in the diagnosis and management of diseases such as osteoporosis. In June the firm posted full year results showing growth in turnover of 7.5% from 8.3m to 9m. Mr Basu pledged a step change at the firm that will see it pull off larger contracts and boost revenue by 40% this year.
Over the last 24 months the firm has won more than $40m ( 30.9m) in contracts across its market sectors as commercialisation has stepped up.
An airport security dog has been shot dead by police in New Zealand after it escaped from its handler, causing flight delays. Grizz, a trainee explosives detector dog, was being loaded into a van by his handler in the public area at Auckland Airport at around 4.30am on Friday local time. It is not clear what spooked the 10-month-old bearded collie/German short haired pointer cross but he ran off and managed to get into the airport’s secure area when a gate opened to let a truck through. Aviation Security Service (Avsec) spokesman Mike Richards told Sky News that off duty dog handlers were called in to help search for Grizz.
“The fact that the incident took place very early in the morning did not help as it was pitch black for the first two hours and he could not be found,” he said. Grizz had been six months away from graduating but he did not have a permanent handler, which meant he was “less responsive” to those searching for him. Mr Richards added: “When he was located he would not let anyone near him and kept sprinting across the runways.
“We tried everything – food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work. “The area is too vast and too open to try and use mobile fencing.” Meanwhile, 16 flights were delayed. Auckland Airport decided to have police shoot Grizz, according to Inspector Tracy Phillips of Counties and Manukau District Police.
She added: “This is not an outcome which anyone wanted, and police were only asked to be involved as a last resort.” Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo told the New Zealand Herald: “The dog was clearly distressed and wouldn’t let anyone near it so the decision was made to shoot the dog.” Mr Richards said that Grizz’s handler at the time and his colleagues were “naturally quite shaken but understand the reasons for the decision”.
Each dog like Grizz costs $100,000 ( 56,500) to train, he added. Among those who criticised the decision to shoot Grizz was popular TVNZ breakfast show host Hilary Barry, who said: “They’ve got to have tranquiliser guns, surely. “They shot the dog dead.
“I don’t care if your plane is delayed, they don’t need to shoot the dog.”
New Zealand news websites also ran polls which showed that the majority of those voting thought Grizz should not have been killed.
- The photos and report were obtained from an anonymous whistleblower
- Allegedly the sleeping guards are from security company, AVSECO
- The source claimed X-ray machines for cargo were sometimes skipped
- AVSECO said a ‘majority’ of the claims were ‘untrue’ and ‘unfounded’
Shocking images have emerged that appear to depict security staff falling asleep in restricted areas at Hong Kong Airport.
The photos were obtained from an anonymous whistleblower who took them at the airport’s SuperTerminal 1 which is the world’s largest air freight handling centre.
The source, who said he had been working for the terminal’s security company, Aviation Security Company Limited (AVSECO) for 15 years, claimed a number of other rules were also flouted.
Shocking images have emerged that appear to depict security staff falling asleep in restricted areas at Hong Kong Airport
The photos were obtained from an anonymous whistleblower who documented the allegedly lax security at SuperTerminal 1 the largest air freight handling centre in the world
X-ray machine checks on cargo were also reportedly skipped on occasion to save time, although there was no evidence to back this up.
AVSECO, who state on their website to maintain the highest standards of aviation security, employ around 3,800 staff who are in charge of a number of services.
These roles include monitoring boarding gate security controls, access controls and guarding services to various facilities operators.
The information, obtained in a dossier by the Hong Kong Free Press, also claimed staff allowed many prohibited items, such as lithium batteries, onto passenger planes
The whistleblower released pictures of unmanned observation towers and a clip that appeared to show trucks passing through security points without being checked by a guard, though the footage is far from clear.
The yellow observation areas in the pictures reportedly allow staff to have unobstructed views of 300-metre stretches through the terminal.
According to the dossier, the facilities are often understaffed and often unmanned if a guard requires the bathroom.
Aside from the security issues, the whistleblower complained that sick pay was often withheld, holiday requests denied and staff often worked overtime on 12-hour shifts.
X-ray machine checks on cargo were also reportedly skipped on occasion to save time, although there was no evidence to back up these claims
A spokesperson for Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), which owns and operates SuperTerminal 1 said to MailOnline Travel: ‘It has come to the attention of Hactl that employees of its security contractor AVSECO were sleeping while on duty.
‘Hactl is currently researching the facts of the matter, and has demanded a full explanation from AVSECO.
‘Until this is received, Hactl is unable to make any further comment.
‘Hactl has immediately implemented a security oversight regime utilising its own employees, to ensure that there are no further breaches of security procedures.
‘Hactl has never previously had occasion to question AVSECO ‘s professionalism or effectiveness.
‘Hactl wishes to make absolutely clear that it treats aviation security as its single highest priority.
‘Should its investigation reveal that the sole government appointed security contractor has failed in its vitally important duties, Hactl will take all necessary and appropriate steps to work with the authority to ensure that no such incident can occur in future.
‘Hactl has no involvement with passenger baggage handling and handles only cargo.’
An AVSECO spokesman said to HKFP that the ‘majority’ of allegations made by the whistleblower were ‘untrue and unfounded.’
AVSECO who state on their website to maintain the highest standards of aviation security, employ around 3,800 staff who are in charge of a number of services
The Senior Manager of the Operations Support Department, Calvin Huen, confirmed to the newspaper that the allegations were being thoroughly investigated.
Hong Kong Airport Authority refused to provide a statement to MailOnline, and referred to AVSECO, of which it is a 51 per cent shareholder.
AVSECO has been contacted for comment.
The yellow observation areas reportedly allow staff to have unobstructed views of 300-metre stretches through the terminal
TWO-FIFTHS OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS SUFFER CHRONIC FATIGUE
Associated Press have obtained worrying draft of report from 2011 that shows overworked air traffic controllers are suffering from chronic fatigue (file photo used)
The U.S . government is alleged to have kept secret a study that shows overworked air traffic controllers are suffering from chronic fatigue that provides serious dangers to the national air traffic system.
Federal Aviation Administration officials have declined to publish a copy of the report despite repeated requests and a Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press.
However, the AP was able to obtain a draft of the final report dated December 1, 2011.
The impetus for the study was a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board to the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to revise controller schedules to provide rest periods that are long enough ‘to obtain sufficient restorative sleep.’
The study found that nearly two in ten controllers had committed significant errors in the previous year such as bringing planes too close together and over half attributed the errors to fatigue .
A third of controllers said they perceived fatigue to be a ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ safety risk.
Greater than six in ten controllers indicated that in the previous year they had fallen asleep or experienced a lapse of attention while driving to or from midnight shifts, which typically begin about 10pm and end around 6am.
Overall, controllers reported they were averaging 5.8 hours of sleep per day over the course of a work week . They averaged only 3.25 hours before some shifts.
The most tiring schedules required controllers to work five straight midnight shifts, or to work six days a week several weeks in a row, often with at least one midnight shift per week . The human body’s circadian rhythms make sleeping during daylight hours before a midnight shift especially difficult.
The study is composed of a survey of 3,268 controllers about their work schedules and sleep habits, and a field study that monitored the sleep and the mental alertness of more than 200 controllers at 30 air traffic facilities.
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