Ferry crew discover 25 stowaways in refrigerated container on UK bound boat

20 November 2019, 05:37

The Britannia Seaways ferry
The Britannia Seaways ferry. Picture: DFDS
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Dutch police have discovered 25 stowaways in a container on a UK bound ferry.

Authorities reported they discovered the migrants hidden in a refrigerated container aboard a boat from the Netherlands.

The ship was forced to return to the port of Vlaardingen near Rotterdam following the discovery.

The Danish-registered Britannia Seaways ferry, operated by DFDS Seaways, had left Vulcaanhaven in Rotterdam-Vlaardingen and was heading to Felixstowe in England.

Emergency organisation Rijnmond Veilig said upon arrival at the port two of the stowaways were taken to hospital, while a further 23 were transferred to a police station, following a medical check.

The driver of a truck was arrested and will be questioned over possible involvement, police said.

Police told a Dutch broadcaster that crew members found the stowaways and alerted authorities after hearing "sounds coming from the cooling container".

A search of the ferry involving police dogs was carried out but no-one else was found.

The incident comes just weeks after the bodies of 39 people, believed to be Vietnamese, were found in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex in eastern England.

Two people have been charged in Britain and eight in Vietnam over the deaths.