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Stowaways suspected in container aboard vessel in N.J. port

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jun 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-27 13:22:36-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — Federal investigators are looking into whether there are stowaways inside a shipping container aboard a vessel docked at a Newark, New Jersey, port.

During a routine security check, a Coast Guard boarding team heard sounds coming from inside the container, prompting the investigation, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt j.g. Fannie Wilks.

“There is no way to know exactly what is inside because we have not opened it yet, but we can knock on the container and hear someone knock back,” she said. “Thus it is our understanding that there is at least one person in the container.”

The cargo ship last docked in Egypt, and had made a stop in Pakistan after originating in India, officials said.

“U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement officers and agents are currently investigating allegations of stowaways on a container ship that arrived in Newark, N.J., this morning,” said Anthony L. Bucci, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection.

The vessel — which is named the Ville D’ Aquarius and managed by Global Ship Lease Services Limited — is not loaded with dangerous cargo and the container in question is underneath several other containers, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Michelle Krupa.

Global Ship Lease Services was not immediately prepared to comment.

CNN’s Mary Snow, Kristina Sgueglia and Paul Caron contributed to this report

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