Cargo ship with suspected Pakistani stowaways seized in US: Report

Published: June 27, 2012

The container was buried beneath others and had not been opened hours after the ship was stopped. PHOTO: FILE

NEW JERSEY: US authorities in Newark, New Jersey seized a cargo ship with goods from India and Egypt on Wednesday after hearing what sounded like people stowed away inside a container on the vessel, the US Coast Guard said. According to The Post, the cargo ship was carrying suspected stowaways from Pakistan.

The container was buried beneath others and had not been opened hours after the ship was stopped.

The vessel, Villa D’Aquarius, was stopped at 3am EDT (0700 GMT) at a standard checkpoint for incoming ships, the Ambrose Anchorage below the Verrazano Bridge in New York Harbor, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said.

“The boarding team went aboard for a routine inspection. They heard sounds that were consistent with people being inside a container,” Rowe said.

US Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, were notified. Federal authorities rushed to receive the ship at the Newark dock, Rowe said.

As of about 9am EDT (1300 GMT), the container remained unopened beneath a stack of others in the hold of the ship about 30 feet down from the deck, he said.

“First it will be determined whether it can be opened as is,” said Rowe. “If that is not feasible, the containers above it will be shifted, it will be put on the pier and we will find out what is inside.”

The ship, which was flying a Cyprus flag, made two stops in India, a final stop in Egypt and then headed for Newark, ultimately bound for Norfolk, Virginia.

It had started its journey in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, on May 30 and made a stop in Qasim, Pakistan, on June 2.

It then made two stops in India, at Nhava Sheva on June 5 and Mundra on June 7, where the container in question was taken onboard, according to the manifest, Rowe said.

The container in question was supposed to be carrying machine parts and was to be delivered to Norfolk, Rowe said.

A gangplank was pulled up to the vessel and crew members were departing the ship as federal authorities took control, Rowe said.

Embassy yet to be approached

Diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune that they have yet to be contacted by US authorities over the container found in Newark that is believed to be occupied by stowaways.

The source said that based on media reports it was unclear if the stowaways were Pakistani.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • A J Khan
    Jun 27, 2012 - 8:44PM

    Pakistan is blamed before the container has been opened. The ship, was flying a Cyprus flag, made two stops in India, a final stop in Egypt but suspect is Pakistani. What a farse.

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  • blah!!
    Jun 27, 2012 - 8:46PM

    Hold on.. so the container has not been opened and yet they know that those aliens are Pakistanis ?
    Oh the Irony !

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  • LionOfPunjab
    Jun 27, 2012 - 9:25PM

    Looks like some people took ex-pm gilanis advise “why dont people leave then” seriously! Cant blame them.:)
    Although, so far there isnt any confirmation if pakistanis are on board..it could be anybody.

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  • captain niatpac
    Jun 27, 2012 - 9:33PM

    How do they “suspect” the containers are Pakistani?Either they are from Pakistan or they are not. This is a laughable news item from a third class newspaper filled with fifth columnist self-proclaimed journalists.

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  • Vigilant
    Jun 27, 2012 - 9:53PM

    Container not open still suspected Pakistanis may be Americans have devices to recognize their respective nationalities as well……Recommend

  • Nand
    Jun 27, 2012 - 10:18PM

    @A J Khan: You forgot to write that the ship was also in Qasim, Pakistan.

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  • Why dont they leave then?
    Jun 27, 2012 - 10:46PM

    @A J Khan:
    “It had started its journey in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, on May 30 and made a stop in Qasim, Pakistan, on June 2.” You forgot to read this part. Also statement by ur ex PM “why dont they leave then, who is stopping them?” is taken seriously by US officials.

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  • Critical
    Jun 27, 2012 - 11:02PM

    @blah!!:
    @Vigilant:
    Looks like you guys have no idea how intelligence teams work……

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  • Parvez
    Jun 27, 2012 - 11:24PM

    The simple thing to determine is if the container stuffing (loading) originated in India or did the unit originate in Pakistan and was transhipped at Mundra for final delivery in the US.

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  • K Khan
    Jun 27, 2012 - 11:56PM

    They are actually blaming India. Accoring to AP, Ship just stopped in Pakistan but containers in question were boarded in India.

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  • Ty Thannnyk
    Jun 28, 2012 - 3:03AM

    They heard about the ‘dream act’. Can you blame them? Free everything,..live 30 times better on welfare in the U.S. than they can in their own country – and Obama won’t deport them – this is just the tip of the third world iceberg heading our way.

    Obama needs to be impeached.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Jun 28, 2012 - 10:07AM

    What is wrong with these Indians!!1

    Trying to ship themselves illegally in dangerous ship containers!!!!

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  • Parvez
    Jun 29, 2012 - 11:22PM

    So what happened ? Why no follow up news ??

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