SEATTLE, Wash. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) piloted the first facial debarkation of cruise ship passengers on the West Coast at Bell Street Cruise Terminal 66 on Saturday. During the processing of Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) C/S Norwegian Joy, passengers were verified against the passenger manifest using a single facial recognition camera utilizing CBP’s Traveler Verification Service (TVS) and operated by NCL. This system expedites processing and frees up CBP officers to conduct other enforcement operations to helping deter and detect threats to our nation.
For the first West Coast pilot, CBP collaborated with NCL to plan and implement the TVS system, facilitating the expeditious travel of over 4,300 passengers.
The facial debarkation system and technology performed without issues, confirming passengers in fewer than two seconds. “The Traveler Verification Service’s facial recognition worked quickly, enabling CBP officers to focus on enforcement and security while facilitating travel making the passengers debarkation effortless and efficient,” said Michael Medo, Chief, Tactical Operations.
Luca Furnare, Acting Area Port Director, Area Port of Seattle noted, “Technology is streamlining the way CBP processes travelers. The addition of facial recognition helps increase security through enhanced imposter detection while providing a more efficient process.”
After the initial weekend, Lisa Streckfus, NCL Senior Director Fleet Surveillance, expressed her appreciation to CBP for the collaborative partnership on behalf of NCL and the rest of the cruise line industry. CBP continues to lead innovative processes such as the facial debarkation and other biometric tools to enhance security and expedite travel. CBP in Seattle has participated in many of these initiatives, and will continue to work with stakeholders to redefine the entry and clearance of passengers, crew, and cargo.