16 people found sealed in trailer on ferry bound for Ireland

DUBLIN - Sixteen people have been found sealed inside a trailer on a ferry bound for the Irish port of Rosslare, shipping operator Stena Line said on Thursday (Nov 21).

The discovery draws renewed attention to the issue of illegal immigration and human trafficking in western Europe, after 39 Vietnamese were found dead in a trailer in Britain last month.

And on Tuesday, the crew of a cargo ferry run by DFDS Seaways found 25 migrants in a refrigerated container on a boat sailing to Britain and forced the vessel to return to port.

The 16 individuals in the latest discovery were found aboard a Wednesday night sailing of the Stena Horizon ship from Cherbourg in northern France.

"One of our employees during a routine inspection discovered 16 people in a sealed trailer on the vehicle deck," Stena Line chief communications officer Ian Hampton said in a statement.

"All the individuals are reported to be in good health and have been moved to a private passenger lounge on the ship."

The ship was due to arrive in port mid-afternoon Thursday, according to the firm, and immigration and security officials have been alerted to meet them.

There was no immediate comment from Irish police or indications of the people's nationalities.

Meanwhile in Dublin, a man being held for alleged participation in the British case involving the 39 Vietnamese victims appeared in court for an extradition hearing.

Eamon Harrison is alleged to have delivered the trailer in which the 39 victims were found dead to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it travelled on to a port in southeast England.

He faces 39 charges of manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and one count of conspiracy to assist in unlawful immigration.

The case was adjourned until another hearing on Dec 12.