Major police search underway for stowaways at Rotterdam ferry port


Police and border police are checking all lorries embarking on the ferry to England at Rotterdam port on Tuesday in an attempt to find stowaways.

The large-scale search involves using dogs, and police are also measuring CO2 levels which would indicate a human presence, broadcaster NOS said.

Last year some 1,371 people were found to have climbed into trailers and containers at the port in an effort to make the trip to Britain, compared to 944 in 2017.

‘The journey can be risky, with people in danger of asphyxiation and if they climb into a refrigerator truck they can suffer from hypothermia. And then there’s us, so the chance that they’ll make it to the other side is minimal,’ police spokesman Maarten van Boekel told the broadcaster.

Last month officials found a group of 34 stowaways, including two children aged seven and nine. Most migrants are young Albanians who don’t need a visa for the Netherlands but do need one for Britain.

The Albanian authorities are trying to discourage people from travelling to Britain, Van Boekel said. ‘We show them what the consequences are. People who are found are sent back to Albania and are barred from travelling in Europe for two years.’

One of the police officers involved in Tuesday’s search said big criminal organisations are behind this human trafficking route and people are paying up to €5,000 to make the trip.

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