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22 May 2020

Port prepares for passengers with temperature screening technology

Portsmouth International Port is believed to be the first UK port to install a thermal temperature scanner, which will be available for ferry and cruise operators to screen their passengers.

The temperature screening technology involves using a camera detection system to monitor the temperature of passengers.

In the beginning it will be trialled as an option for foot passengers joining ships to help support infection control onboard. If successful the technology could then be used elsewhere in the port.

Mike Sellers Portsmouth International Port's director said: "We want to make sure we're in the best position to welcome back passengers in a managed, safe and sensible way.

"Being able to help support our ferry and cruise lines by providing solutions for potential health protocols, should operators choose to use it for their customers, means we're ready to go once travel restrictions are eased.

"There are ongoing discussions about a common framework for health screenings, which are being explored by all transport operators.

"Until there is an international standard we want to make sure we can meet a universal expectation to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus."

The thermal imaging scanner is one a raft of measures being implemented to prioritise health and safety, an overhaul of the how the terminal will function once it reopens for passengers is underway, including appropriate full face PPE for customer facing staff, social distancing measures, clinical level hand sanitation products on door handles and cleaning stations.

Mike Sellers continued: "Our key workers continued to operate since the lockdown restrictions were implemented providing essential operations for critical freight and lifeline services. It is even more important as a major port we have the right measures in place to manage the flow of people as well as goods safely.

"We're working with our partners in Border Force, Condor Ferries, Brittany Ferries, and also listening to our cruise customers about what needs to be in place when travel restrictions are eased.

"Even if overseas travel is delayed, UK based cruise itineraries will still be popular as the public look to find a way to have a break locally. As a port suited to small medium sized, boutique sailing ships, we're in an ideal position to manage a phased return to sailing, especially with the draw of our city's attractions. 

“We also support the idea for sea bridges to help encourage safe travel. As a method of transport ships provide outside space, room to move around indoors, and lend themselves to social distancing measures.”

Working with Border Force the port will also support any health measures the government may put in place for passengers coming into the UK.


Will all passengers automatically be screened?
If ferry and cruise operators choose to use the camera, they can screen foot passengers before they arrive on board.

What about those in vehicles?
Currently we have one camera, which for logistics reasons is best placed in the terminal for foot passengers and this meets the needs of all cruise customers too.

If the trial was productive then we work would with operators to install elsewhere.

How about arrivals into the UK?
At the moment this is to support our customers minimise infection controls on board, however if the government wanted to implement strict health protocol measures we could explore introducing the camera elsewhere.

What happens if someone triggers the alarm with a high temperature?
We are only alerting the fact someone has registered a high temperature to the ship’s medical teams who will carry out their assessment whether passengers should board. We appreciate there are a number of reasons why someone might have a high temperature, but we are following PHE protocols which state anyone with a fever should remain at home and self-isolate.

Currently the only way to suitably check whether the virus is the cause is by testing.

Could this be used for staff?
Protecting our staff is has been our main concern through this whole pandemic situations, scaling back operations so only people who are absolutely necessary come on site. Closing the terminal to the public and now we’re exploring the right PPE and protection when passengers do return.

Staff reporting high fever should stay away from work and as a key worker register for a test instead. We would discuss with our teams if we thought screening before work would benefit their safety further and exploring possible options.

What is the accuracy rate?
We scoped the market and believe this registers the best accuracy rate is +/- 0.2 degrees, if someone did score a high reading they would be screened again and that’s when the ship’s medical team would make an assessment if the temperature remained high.