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Items from Japan undergo inspection

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - A joint inspection is ongoing for all inbound cargo into Guam following the nuclear plant explosion in Japan caused by the major earthquake and tsunami earlier this month. Officials say the process may result in some delays for postal services.

"Members of the 94th Civil Support Team are assisting us in conducting radiation screening of general cargo and mail from Japan, as well as transiting cargo that may have passed through Japan," said Lieutenant Ferdinand Soriano, spokesperson for the Guam Customs. Agents with Guam Customs and Quarantine and the Guam National Guard's 94th Civil Support Team are executing orders to thoroughly inspect items coming in from Japan at the Guam Main Postal Facility in Barrigada and at the Guam International Airport Authority.

"From those initial inspections we've found nothing out of the ordinary," he said.

Over the past two days officials have been using personal radiological detection devices as well as an identifinder, which is used to trace the presence of radiation in the mail, cargo, passengers, or food. Lt. Soriano says they are also receiving assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "We do have CBP officers that are stationed down there at the arrival areas monitoring passengers and baggage as they go through customs to make sure there is no radiation found over there, they do have PDRs," he said.

Guam National Guard Spokesperson Captain Ken Ola says the CST has not detected anything harmful so far. "There in their protective suits and they are going through the airport cargo area with this equipment and just sensing if there's any pings that they'll get from this equipment," he said.

Officials say the community can expect some delays while they do these inspections, but they say they are taking the precautionary steps necessary to prevent any radiation from entering the island.

Soriano says the nuclear scare will impact delivery companies such as Federal Express, DHL, and UPS, to name a few. "As far as U.S. mail is concerned regarding any mail coming in from Japan, the U.S. Postal Service is rerouting all inbound mail that's going into Guam and they are rerouting it over to Hawaii for there checks over there and once its been cleared through their system then it will be delivered over to Guam," said Soriano.

He adds the U.S. Coast Guard is taking the lead for all cargo coming in through the port. While Soriano says they are not expecting any ships at this time from Japan, he says they are planning ahead. "We are in talks with the Coast Guard, our supervisor as we speak is in meetings with them regarding any type of entry that may happen if there are any types of vessels coming in from Japan," he said.

Aside from the sensor placed at homeland security this weekend, which is monitoring the air for any harmful traces of radiation, Soriano says the joint inspection effort with the military will continue until otherwise directed by the governor.

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