Toward the end of June, we posted about the minor media circus that grew out of a report of possible stowaways on the container ship, Ville D’Aquarius, bound for Port Newark. After a multi-agency task force swung into action to investigate, the media began reporting that there were between 20 and 60 Pakistani stowaways aboard the ship and making veiled and not so veiled references to terrorism. There turned out to be no stowaways found aboard the ship.
Recently, however,we have heard of a real, live, proven stowaway hiding in a sealed shipping container. A container, originally loaded in Shanghai, was opened at a business in Compton, California, near Los Angeles. Inside was a 3-month-old kitten, which had apparently survived without food or water for the up to 21 day that it often takes to make the 6,500 mile journey from China. Remarkably, the kitten appears to be in reasonable good health, despite the ordeal.
The kitten, nicknamed Ni Hao (NEE’-How), which means “hello” in Mandarin, is not the first feline to surreptitiously take to the sea as a stowaway. In April 2011, a cat who vanished from his home in New Zealand was found stowed away in a container in Australia, after a voyage of 18 days and more than 2,200 miles. Likewise in November 2009, a cat was found in a container unloaded in the British port of Felixstowe after a after a 3,000 mile journey from Egypt.