Stowaways apprehended en route to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – A joint federal team was mobilized early Sunday to investigate a report of two stowaways on board a container ship en route to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach complex . The team was made up of members from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection.

The U.S. Coast Guard received notification that the Los Angeles bound containership ZENIT discovered two stowaways onboard during an earlier port call. The stowaways were reported to be Nigerian nationals.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. the vessel was boarded by Boarding Officers from the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, a boarding team from the Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) 91103 and agents from Customs and Boarder Protection. Once on board the joint boarding team took custody of the suspected stowaways and removed them from the ship. “This type of joint operation is an excellent example of cooperation with partner agencies to achieve a common goal.” Stated Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Ozvaldo Vera of the Maritime Safety and Security Team who was part of the Coast Guard’s boarding team.

MSSTs were created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) 2002 and are a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting our seaports and waterways. MSSTs were created in direct response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Accordingly, every MSST designation number begins with “911.”

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