'Hijacked' ship bound for US

HONOLULU (Reuter) - The crew of a cargo ship reported to have been hijacked said over the radio that an armed crew member had taken over, met accomplices and then loaded 450 Chinese, a US Coast Guard spokesman said yesterday.

He said new transmissions from the Hawaii-bound ship Eastwood were being taken 'very seriously' but he would not rule out the possibility they were part of a hoax. He speculated that the passengers, who the radio messages said were loaded at an island off the coast of China, were intended to be smuggled illegally into the United States.