Dutch authorities find 25 migrants in refrigerated container aboard ship

Stowaways found in refrigerated container bound for UK

A Dutch ferry crew found 25 migrants in a refrigerated container on a boat sailing to Britain and forced the vessel to return to port in the Netherlands, police and emergency services said.

The incident follows the discovery of 39 bodies in a lorry in Essex last month.

Two of the migrants were taken to hospital for treatment while the other 23 received a medical check-up in the port before being taken away by police for processing, according to a statement posted on the website of regional emergency services.

Authorities found the group in the cool room on board the cargo ship.

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The ferry, Britannia Seaways, run by DFDS Seaways, had left the port in Vlaardingen, but returned immediately after discovering the people on board.

"Word from the ship is that no one died". It's not clear how the stowaways were discovered or whether that was the reason the ship turned around. Police told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that they had detained the driver and he was being questioned over his possible involvement in human trafficking.

The mayor of Vlaardingen, Annemiek Jetten, said "more and more" people were trying to cross the Channel and had not been put off by the deaths of the Vietnamese migrants.

She added that it was not clear if more people were trying to get to Britain before immigration laws become tougher after its scheduled exit from the European Union next year.

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