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25 Stowaways Found In Refrigerated Container On U.K.-Bound Ship

Dutch authorities say that a group of 25 stowaways were found in a refrigerated container onboard a cargo ship bound for the U.K. on Tuesday.

The ship, which according to local media is the Britannia Seaways, has returned to port in Vlaardingen. Local authorities said in a statement that the people are receiving medical assistance.

The local government said it received word from the Denmark-flagged ship that nobody died in the incident. The emergency coordination organization Rjinmond Veilig stated that two people were transported to a hospital for more treatment, and 23 have been transferred to a police location.

Based on information from Marine Traffic, which tracks ships, Britannia Seaways left the port in The Netherlands at 3:43 p.m. local time and returned at 7:29 p.m. It's not clear how the stowaways were discovered or whether that was the reason the ship turned around.

The ship was being searched by dogs looking for anyone who might still be on there, according to Rijnmond Veilig.

A reporter for NOS posted a video showing a steady stream of emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. That reporter, Robert Bas, tweeted that a bus with the apparent stowaways left the port under police supervision. It's unclear where the people are from.

Last month, 12 migrants were found alive in a refrigerated truck in Belgium. According to the German news agency Deutsche Welle, they were 11 Syrian men and one Sudanese man.

In early November, 39 people were found dead inside a truck container in the U.K. They were later identified as Vietnamese nationals, who police said were smuggled into the country.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.