Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitten's Survival After Shipping Container Ordeal Not the First Unusual Box Freight

Three Week Voyage from China Brings Out Native Humour
Shipping News Feature

US – CHINA – The three month old kitten found last week in a shipping container having survived three weeks without food and water joins a long list of stowaway’s both animal and human, which have made illicit sea voyages since the ubiquitous boxes began their rapid rise to popularity as a method to transport freight around the globe some fifty or so years ago.

The kitten, named Ni Hao (Hello in Mandarin) was discovered by workers at a business in Compton, Los Angeles after being inadvertently shipped the six and a half thousand miles from Shanghai. The case has produced concern in the US but hilarity on Chinese blogging sites who say the animal had the sense to defect rather than being eaten or having to suffer the perceived hardships of its native land. Currently many Chinese who have made their fortunes during the expansion of the economy there are applying for US immigration visas according to the bloggers.

Although unusual, survival following such a trip is by no means unheard of although wild creatures tend to be smaller than a kitten with insects and arachnids often discovered dead after fumigation of import cargoes. On Christmas Eve 2008 a large non-venomous Eastern Racer snake, with a head ‘the size of a clenched fist’ was found by Jamaican Customs officers in a container of household appliances, furniture and gardening tools en route from the Port of Miami when it reared up as the box was searched.

Human cargoes are found more often however they tend to be better prepared for the weeks of darkness and solitude during such a trip. There is a positive litany of cases in which people fleeing their own countries have been found often alive but on occasion dead, usually from dehydration. In 1994 eleven refugees from the Dominican Republic were only found after they managed to attract attention whilst stowed forty feet high in a container stack aboard the MV Carolina in port in New Jersey harbour.

When last heard of Ni Hao was awaiting a foster home in the Carson Animal Care Center whilst undergoing quarantine.