Mysterious pounding puzzles ship's crew

Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2000

UNALASKA (AP) -- A mysterious pounding noise inside a container van buried deep inside a cargo ship crossing the North Pacific may be from a desperate Chinese stowaway or stowaways.

Little else will be known, however, until the 861-foot Manola makes an emergency stop here Wednesday, said Gene Mackarin, manager of the American President Lines terminal at Dutch Harbor.

The ship's crew heard pounding from the container, which is tightly packed against some other cargo, Mackarin said.

The crew punched an air hole into the container but heard nothing more, he said.

The container can't be opened because the space between the containers is too narrow, Mackarin said. The container is located deep inside the ship and is covered by at least seven other containers, he said.

Once the vessel arrives at Dutch Harbor, the options include lifting the other containers off with a shore-side crane or sending a welder into the ship to cut open the container doors.

Medics will be standing by, just in case, Mackarin said.

The container in question originated from a Chinese city and the ship stopped at a number of ports in Asia picking up cargo. Its last port of call was Yokohama, Japan, before heading to Oakland, Calif.

American President Lines is leasing the Manola from the Matson shipping company, Mackarin said.

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