No stowaways found at Port Newark - New York News

No stowaways found at Port Newark

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An extensive search of hundreds of cargo containers from a ship at Port Newark did not turn up any stowaways, reported the Associated Press.

The search was called off Thursday.

"Officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection with assistance from ICE -Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Port Authority of NY/NJ, utilized X-Ray machines, K-9 units and officers on the ground to search over 163 containers," said DHS officials.

Customs and Border Patrol agents, the FBI and police searched the containers starting Wednesday morning after the boarding party heard sounds coming from  a container on the bottom of a stack.

Initial reports indicated that as many 25 people were inside a cargo container and that the stowaways from Pakistan had been aboard the ship for at least seven days.

A large number of security vehicles and ambulances were at the dock next to the ship in the south terminal Wednesday morning. But most of the ambulances had left by early afternoon.

Crews started unloading cargo containers from the ship at about 10 a.m. and opening them up to check for stowaways.

By 1 p.m., scores of containers had been opened with no indication of anyone inside.

Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe says the container was loaded aboard The Villa D'Aquarius in India after the ship departed Pakistan.  The manifest says the container was carrying machine parts to be unloaded in Norfolk, VA.

The ship docked last in Egypt before heading to the United States.

Homeland Security said in a statement:  "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. Officials are currently aboard the Ville D'Aquarius and are conducting a thorough investigation of the vessel. More information will be released once available."

Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) occupies 180 acres, handling over 600,000 containers annually.

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