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3 of 14 migrants found in container in Ireland could be Vietnamese: foreign ministry

3 of 14 migrants found in container in Ireland could be Vietnamese: foreign ministry

Friday, January 12, 2024, 15:23 GMT+7
3 of 14 migrants found in container in Ireland could be Vietnamese: foreign ministry
Rosslare Europort in Ireland, where 14 migrants, including three believed to be Vietnamese, were discovered hiding in a refrigerated container on January 8, 2024. Photo: Irish Independent

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acknowledged information from Ireland indicating that three out of the 14 migrants discovered in a refrigerated container in the northwestern European country earlier this week are presumed to be Vietnamese.

Irish authorities have announced that three out of the 14 migrants found inside a refrigerated shipping container at Rosslare Europort in southeastern Ireland on Monday are believed to be Vietnamese, Pham Thu Hang, spokeswoman of the foreign ministry, said at a press briefing on Thursday, citing the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK that is also in charge of Ireland.

According to AFP, the 14 people in the container included nine men, three women, and two girls, all of whom were in good health upon being discovered.

These people include three Vietnamese, one Turkish national, and 10 Kurds from Iran and Iraq, Ireland’s RTE television and Irish Independent newspaper reported.

Rosslare Europort handles passengers and goods from the UK and Europe, with special connections to France and Spain.

Irish police on Wednesday launched an investigation into the human trafficking case after the illegal migrants were found, Hang stated, adding that as soon as receiving the information, the ministry directed the embassy to contact and coordinate with Irish authorities to inquire into the case.

The embassy and the honorary consulate office in Dublin, Ireland are working with local police to verify the identities of the three Vietnamese and prepare to carry out citizen protection measures if necessary, the spokeswoman said.

Speaking with the press, Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he felt relieved that the migrants were safe despite having spent more than 24 hours in a refrigerated container.

It was “a stroke of luck” that there were no fatalities among them, Irish Examiner newspaper cited Eugene Drennan, the president of the Irish Road Haulage Association.

They were found when a refrigerated container truck was stopped and forced to exit a ferry which reached Rosslare Europort from Zeebrugge Port in Belgium on Monday.

Previously on the same day, the British coast guard force received an emergency call from a person inside a refrigerated container truck, and then coordinated with Irish authorities to stop the vehicle upon its arrival at the port, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The container had been loaded onto the truck south of Paris, France before being transported to Zeebrugge Port, RTE reported, citing Drennan. 

“The truck was fully sealed… it had to be some people who knew how to manipulate the locks and seals,” Drennan told RTE, emphasizing that the incident was certainly the work of a professional human trafficking organization.

He commented that the migrants might have believed they were headed for England.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar affirmed that Dublin will consider processing all potential asylum applications as quickly as possible, and emphasized that the country’s “first response is always a humanitarian one.” 

Irish police had yet to make any arrest in relation to the incident, the VNA reported on Thursday.

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Vinh Tho - Gia Minh / Tuoi Tre News


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