Explosive? No, sprinkler parts, in another false alarm at port
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 9, 2007
MIAMI - The Port of Miami had its second false terrorism alarm in two days Monday when a package waiting to be loaded onto a cruise ship tested positive for plastic explosive. Authorities later found it was harmless.
A Miami-Dade County police bomb squad destroyed the box and then checked it, said Zach Mann, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman. The box held sprinkler parts, which contained a substance that "closely resembles" the military-grade explosive known as C4, police spokesman Bobby Williams said.
Before the package was destroyed, explosives-sniffing equipment tested it six times, and each test came back positive for C4, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said.
Williams said the explosives-detection instruments sometimes give out a false positive.
"We still need to check it out," he said.
The package was included in provisions that were to be loaded aboard Royal Caribbean International's Majesty of the Seas, the cruise line said. After explosives-detection instruments got the positive reading about 2 p.m., the Coast Guard briefly set up a security perimeter around the ship.
The package investigation came a day after three Middle Eastern men in a cargo truck sparked a brief and unfounded terrorism scare at the port.
Officials initially said the permanent U.S. residents from Iraq and Lebanon were caught trying to slip past a checkpoint in a cargo truck at the port entrance Sunday. After a bomb squad search, authorities determined that their freight of automotive parts was harmless and the incident stemmed from miscommunication.
[Last modified January 9, 2007, 00:41:39]
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