Wednesday 22 January 2020

Probe launched after eight stowaways from Albania found on ship

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ralph Riegel and Micheal O Scannail

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

The group, who are believed to be Albanian, were discovered on the vessel shortly after it had berthed.

The freighter berthed at Belview Port, the container port for Waterford, shortly after 4pm.

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

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

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 of the group were last night being brought to Ballybricken garda station.

The group, understood to be all young men, were 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 then be taken to a direct provision centre while gardaí attempt to confirm their nationalities, their identities and how they managed to stowaway on board the freighter.

Belview Port is located some 2km downstream of Waterford city.

Staff were about to start unloading the ship's cargo at the time.

"All eight are believed to be adult males from Eastern Europe.

"All males are in good medical condition," a Garda statement said.

"Garda immigration officers attached to Waterford garda station are currently dealing with the males and they will be processed under the immigration law.

"An Garda Síochána continue to investigate all the circumstances of this incident," it added.

The discovery came almost two weeks after 16 migrants were discovered 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.

It also comes after 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex on October 23.

More recently, a group of 14 men and two boys were discovered alive inside a trailer on a ferry bound for Ireland on November 20.

A total of 11 of 14 Iraqi Kurd migrants who were housed at the direct provision centre in Balseskin, Dublin, after being found, left within hours of being placed there.

It is thought that when found aboard the ferry, they were attempting to make their way to the UK.

After going missing from the direct provision centre, it is thought they continued that journey.

Irish Independent

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