After 12 hours of searching through bus-sized shipping containers, federal authorities found no stowaways on the cargo ship in Port Newark, New Jersey believed to be hiding them, ABC News reports.
Early Wednesday morning, during a random on-board inspection, port officials believed they heard knocking coming from the bottom of a stack of containers on the Ville D'Aquarius—a shipping freighter entering Pork Newark from the Middle East.
The U.S. Coast Guard proceeded to escort ship into the docks to unload it under the supervision of federal authorities who rushed to the scene.
"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 unites, and officers on the ground to search over 163 containers," a Homeland Security spokesman said in a statement Thursday morning. "The search for stowaways aboard the Ville D'Aquarius has concluded with no stowaways found."
The freighter will be reloaded and leave for Norfolk, Virginia, its next port of call.
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.