25 stowaways were found yesterday in a refrigerated truck aboard a ferry at Vlaardingen port. They are believed to come from Iraq and Kuwait, but do not have identity papers with them, NOS reports.
More than twenty ambulances were at the port
Yesterday, after the stowaways were found, emergency services from around the region worked together after a GRIP-1 emergency was reported. After the recent tragic deaths of 39 stowaways in England, it’s no wonder that Dutch emergency services feared the worst. According to Annemiek Jetten, mayor of Vlaardingen, “The incident in the UK was still fresh in our memory.” More than twenty ambulances were waiting at the quay when the ferry returned to port.
Truck driver arrested
Two stowaways received medical attention, but all the rest were luckily unharmed. They have all now been released from hospital and are currently at a police location, where they will be processed as illegal migrants to the Netherlands. The ferry was originally bound for Felixstowe harbour in England. The truck came from Romania, and the driver of the truck has been arrested, although it is not yet known if he was aware of the presence of the stowaways. The stowaways were discovered only once the ferry had left Vlaardingen port, and the ferry turned around once their presence was known.
Mayor of Vlaardingen questions how stowaways were not discovered
Questions have been raised by port authorities about why the stowaways were not discovered at the port. According to Jetten, “We are very curious to see how such a large group can slip through. I told the police and the judicial authorities to take a good look at it, because we are very careful with enforcement.” Stowaways are a growing concern for port authorities, as more and more people are desperate enough to escape their home countries through any means necessary.
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Feature image: Ramon Versteeg/Wikimedia Commons.