herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Eight stowaways found on freighter after it docks in Waterford from France

Sixteen people were found in Rosslare-bound ship last month. Photo: Niall Carson
Sixteen people were found in Rosslare-bound ship last month. Photo: Niall Carson

Eight stowaways were last night found on a freighter ship arriving at a port in Waterford.

The group, believed to be Albanian, was discovered on the vessel after it had berthed at Belview Port, the container port for Waterford, shortly after 4pm.

It is understood one of the migrants made themselves known to a member of the ship's crew.

The captain of the freighter was immediately informed and he contacted gardai.

Uniformed officers, accompanied by members of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, arrived swiftly at Belview Port to assess the situation.

All eight migrants are said to be in good health.

However, several said they were hungry and had apparently not eaten since they somehow got on board the vessel at a European port several days ago.

It is understood that the freighter had sailed from France before arriving in Ireland with its cargo.

All the migrants were last night being taken to Ballybricken Garda Station.

The group, understood to be solely young men, was given hot food and drinks, as well as precautionary health checks.

Several had complained of being very cold.

They are now expected to claim asylum in Ireland. If so, they will be taken to a Direct Provision centre while gardai attempt to confirm their nationalities, their identities and how they managed to board the freighter.

Belview Port is located some 2km downstream of Waterford city and staff were about to start unloading the ship's cargo at the time.

"All eight are believed to be adult males from Eastern Europe," a garda statement said.

"All males are in good medical condition.

"Garda Immigration Officers attached to Waterford Garda Station are currently dealing with the males and they will be processed under the immigration law.

Teenage

"An Garda Siochana continue to investigate all the circumstances of this incident.

"No further comment at this time. No spokesperson [is] available at this time."

The discovery came almost two weeks after 16 migrants were found on the back of a container bound for Ireland on the Cherbourg/Rosslare ferry.

Fourteen of the group were adults and two were teenage boys. They are believed to be Kurds from Iran and Iraq.

All had understood they were on their way to the UK rather than Ireland.

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