TUESDAY, MARCH 16: The Ministry of Finance announced that Nuctech Company Ltd. of Beijing, China has been selected to supply and install X-ray scanning equipment on the Hamilton docks.

The equipment should be fully operational by November this year.

Finance Minister Paula Cox said: "Last weekend, our community experienced another senseless act of gun violence. And while we continue to grapple with these seemingly all too frequent random acts, I am confident that the Bermuda Police Service is deploying all their available resources to address this latest incident. For our part, the Ministry of Finance through the Department of Customs, is reaffirming our support in this important fight particularly as it relates to our role in safeguarding Bermuda's borders.

"Today, I am pleased to report further progress of the X-ray Scanning Project for the Hamilton Docks. Last September, I provided a detailed briefing to the public which set out some fundamental facts about the role of HM Customs and how it discharges its duties.

"A major aspect of the briefing was what this Government was doing to address in particular, the interdiction of firearms into the Island. Last year, HM Customs had arranged for the purchase and installation of a specialized container X-ray unit for the Hamilton docks. Following an intensive evaluation of four proposals I am pleased to announce that Nuctech Ltd. of Beijing China has been selected to supply and install the scanning equipment on the Hamilton Docks."

Minister Cox pointed out that the selection process, "was an intensely detailed and scrutinizing" one, which included site visits and discussions with the chief stakeholders, such as Stevedoring Services, the Corporation of Hamilton, the Ministry of Works and Engineering, the Truckers Association, Ministry of Transport and the Bermuda Fire Service.

It is anticipated that the equipment will arrive in Bermuda in September 2010 and be fully operational by November 2010. The contracted cost of the specialized equipment is $2.6 million. The equipment and some related construction costs are being funded from the Confiscated Assets Fund.

Minister Cox said, "Once fully operational, this specialized apparatus will enable a greater percentage of containers to be examined. Additionally the introduction of this equipment will ensure that we are in compliance with international standards. As a note, the US will soon require all containers destined for the US to be x-rayed prior to departure to the U.S.

"I wish to thank all the stakeholders, including the Corporation of Hamilton, Stevedoring Services and the Ministry of Works and Engineering for their cooperation and their on-going assistance in preparing the Hamilton docks for the installation of the X-ray Scanning equipment.

"It is Government's hope that the introduction of this equipment will greatly assist in making Bermuda safer."