Police suspect that the 25 stowaways found in a refrigerated lorry on a DFDS cargo ferry heading from Vlaardingen to England are from the Middle East, with most of them claiming to come from Iraq and Kuwait.
The driver of the lorry, a 39-year-old Romanian national, has been arrested and police are still trying to establish if he knew there were people in the lorry or where the journey started.
Two of the 25 stowaways were given medical help when the ferry returned to Vlaardingen after they were discovered but have since been released from hospital. Most of the group are young men, the AD reported.
Emergency services had been ‘prepared for the worst’, Vlaarding officials said, following the death of 39 Vietnamese in a refrigerated truck in England earlier this month.
Dutch ports have become increasingly popular with human traffickers in recent years and 1,371 stowaways were found on lorries leaving Dutch ports last year. More than half of them came from Albania.
This August, 27 Vietnamese nationals were found in a refrigerated lorry at Hook of Holland, including a number of children. An Irish lorry driver was arrested on suspicion of people trafficking.