Ship to Be Tested for Radiation
Sep. 12, 2002
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Pentagon sent a team Thursday to try to determine if there are radioactive materials on a ship detained off the coast of New Jersey.
The specialists were to follow up after one test showed traces of radioactivity were detected in the cargo of the M/V Palermo Senator _ and a second test turned out inconclusive, defense officials said.
The team included people who are experts in detecting and disposing of explosive ordnance, they said.
The Liberian-flagged container ship was ordered back to sea, that is, to stay in a security zone six miles offshore while the inspection continues, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The ship was directed to a berth at the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal after a Coast Guard team boarded the vessel Tuesday. Team members reported hearing suspicious sounds in several of the ship's cargo holds, but found no evidence of stowaways and said they could not determine the source.
Officials have declined to describe the cargo.
But trace radiation could come from a number of sources, such as clay, pipes that have been used for a long time underground in oil excavation and so on, defense officials said.