Two Syrian nationals jumped ship on early Wednesday near the Delaware Memorial Bridge, with one of them making it to land in Salem County before both were captured.
The two are in federal custody after they leaped from the Lebanon-flagged M/V Abou Karim III, a converted cattle-carrier that had departed Wilmington, Del. en route to Jordan, according to Steve Sapp, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security's office of Customs and Border Patrol.
One of the ship's crew members, who has not been identified, was fished out of the Delaware River Tuesday evening by a tugboat, said a spokesman for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The second crew member, an 18-year-old Syrian, was caught around 6 a.m. Wednesday after he was spotted trying to break into a construction vehicle on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property near Kilchohook. Police identified him as Omar Khalef.
Tracking information for the ship shows the Abou Karim pulling a U-Turn just before the bridge, apparently in search of the men, at about 1 a.m.
Both were taken into custody of HSI for questioning. They face deportation.
The two were caught after a search conducted by Pennsville Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit in Cherry Hill. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police assisted.
Authorities did not say why the men jumped ship.