Explosives Tests in Miami Yield False Alarm

Associated Press
Tuesday, January 9, 2007; Page A03

MIAMI, Jan. 8 -- The Port of Miami was hit by its second terrorism scare in two days Monday when a package that was to be loaded onto a cruise ship tested positive for plastic explosives. Authorities later determined that it was a box of sprinkler parts.

The package was initially tested six times, the Coast Guard said, and each time it came back positive for the military-grade explosive known as C-4.

The package was destroyed, and a Miami-Dade County police bomb squad determined the sprinkler parts contained a substance that "closely resembles" plastic explosives, police spokesman Bobby Williams said.

Williams said the instruments used to test the package sometimes give false positives. "We still need to check it out," he said.

The package was included in provisions to be loaded aboard Royal Caribbean International's Majesty of the Seas.

The FBI was monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.

On Sunday, three Middle Eastern men in a tractor-trailer sparked a brief terrorism scare at the port.

After a search by the bomb squad, authorities concluded that the men were carrying electrical automotive parts and that the alert resulted from a miscommunication. A judge dropped all charges against the men Monday.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company