U.S. seizes cargo ship in search for stowaways

by Eduardo Munoz  |  published on June 27, 2012


(Reuters) – A cargo ship believed to be carrying stowaways was seized at a New Jersey port on Wednesday after it arrived in the United States following stops in India and Egypt to pick up freight, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Agents said they heard what sounded like people in a container buried beneath others in the ship’s hold, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said.

The container had not been opened hours after the ship was stopped and was being moved by crane to a dock so it could be checked, he said.

The ship’s manifest said the container was loaded onto the vessel on June 7 in India and was carrying machine parts.

At least seven ambulances waited outside Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, where dozens of containers were moved to the dock for inspection. Authorities knocked on the outside of the red, blue or gray containers, listening for noises, and opened and searched them.

The vessel was identified as the Ville D’Aquarius, according to Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs & Border Protection.

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