Despite an extensive search, government officials found no stowaways on a containership docked in Newark, N.J.
The search was ordered after a Coast Guard boarding crew thought they heard a knocking sound from within a container during a routine inspection.
Press reports said at about 3 a.m. on Wednesday Coast Guard inspectors thought they heard knocking from within a container stowed on the CMA CGM ship Ville D'Aquarius
as it was undergoing routine inspection as it entered the Port of New York and New Jersey.
When the ship docked at Port Newark Container Terminal several hours later, agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began the painstaking process of opening and inspecting containers as they were removed from the area of the ship where the noise was thought to have originated. Ambulances stood by in case any stowaways required medical attention.
The ship had visited the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, and Egypt before arriving in New York.
The Newark Star-Ledger
reported the search was called off late Wednesday after a search of 163 containers found no stowaways.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., interviewed
, said there was concern about terrorists possibly being on the ship and air space around the port - which is located across the New Jersey Turnpike from Newark Liberty International Airport - had been closed.
Ironically, the New York Times
ran an op-ed
, entitled "Cargo, the Terrorist's Trojan Horse," Wednesday from Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., criticizing DHS for not complying with a law passed five years ago mandating that by July 2012 all
maritime cargo bound for the United States be scanned before it is
loaded on ships
"We recognized that the scanning of 100 percent of all cargo containers
in five years could be a challenging deadline to meet. That is why we
included the authority to extend the deadline in cases in which Homeland
Security certified that there are at least two major obstacles relating
to the availability and accuracy of the technology, the logistics of
its deployment and use, or impacts to trade," the three congressmen wrote.
"Now Homeland Security is using this authority to simply exempt itself
from any meaningful compliance with the law we wrote to close a
dangerous loophole in United States security," they added. "We have urged the
department over the last five years to make the law a reality, to no
avail. Our nation can no longer risk such delays." - Chris Dupin