68 Smuggled into UK Port on Ferry

Stena Hollandica

Published Jun 8, 2015 2:50 AM by The Maritime Executive

Sixty-eight suspected illegal immigrants, including two pregnant women and 15 children, were discovered crammed in trucks transported into the UK by a Stena ferry. 

Authorities received reports of people locked inside vehicles at Harwich International Port in eastern England around 10:00pm. The group was found on Thursday night during a search of four trucks which had been on the Stena Hollandica super-ferry from the Netherlands.

The East of England Ambulance Service said seven of the people, including the pregnant women were taken to nearby hospital suffering from abdominal and chest pains, although none was said to be in a life-threatening condition.  They were later released after treatment and all 68 - 35 Afghans, 22 Chinese, 10 Vietnamese and one Russian - were handed over to Border Agency officials.

"Polish nationals, who were driving the vehicles, have been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration," a Home Office spokesman said.

"They have been taken to separate police stations and will now be questioned by the Home Office's criminal investigations team while enquiries continue."

Britain has long faced the problem of immigrants attempting to illegally enter the country from Europe, often by hiding in trucks crossing the Channel from the French port of Calais.

Last August, 35 people suffering from dehydration and hypothermia were found inside a container at Tilbury Docks, London's major port on the River Thames. One later died.

In 2000, the bodies of 58 Chinese immigrants were found crammed in a truck at the southern port of Dover.