Stowaways Suspected in Container at Port Newark

Stowaways Suspected in Container at Port Newark

Federal and local authorities are investigating apparent stowaways inside a shipping container on the CMA CGM chartered container ship Ville D'Aquarius docked at Port Newark Container Terminal, the Coast Guard said.

Michelle Krupa, a civilian spokeswoman for the Coast Guard New York Command Center, told the Newark Star-Ledger that the Coast Guard conducted a random boarding of the vessel at 1 a.m. as it approached New York Harbor.

During an inspection, the boarding team was conducting a sound check of containers when it encountered one that apparently contained stowaways, Krupa said.

"It was a random boarding, and they were doing a sound check and they knocked on this one and they heard a knocking back," she said.

Other containers were stacked on top of that one, and the crew was unable to open it on board, Krupa said, so the vessel proceeded to its berth, where the box will be removed for inspection.

The ship, which has a capacity of 3,900 twenty-foot-equivalent units, is deployed on the Indamex service in partnership with Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, OOCL and APL. The ship’s rotation is Port Qasim, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Damietta, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston, Port Said and Jeddah.

CMA CGM said it was working closely with government officials as they investigate the situation.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @josephbonney.