DUBLIN, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- A senior Irish official on Friday called for strengthened security at all Irish ports to combat human trafficking in the wake of 16 men being found on a ferry heading to Ireland from France.
Charlie Flanagan, Irish Minister for Justice and Equality, told the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE that his department is working with its European colleagues and he hopes to ensure that there is sufficient security to combat "the scourge of human trafficking".
Flanagan expressed the concern that Ireland is seen as a back door to Britain and called for the cooperation between the Irish police and their colleagues in Britain's Northern Ireland.
He hoped that they could work together "in a seamless way to ensure that Ireland does not have a border situation that is seen as easy access".
On Thursday morning, 16 men, including 14 adult males and two juveniles, were found in a sealed truck on a ferry sailing from France's northwestern city of Cherbourg to Rosslare Europort, a seaport in southeast Ireland.
Stena Line, the operator of the ferry, confirmed in a statement that the 16 people were found by an employee of the ferry who heard the banging from inside the truck parked on the vehicle deck of the ferry.
They were shortly released and moved to a lounge area on the ship where they were provided with food, drinks, and blankets, said Stena Line, adding that they were all in good condition.
The 16 men who are believed to be of Kurdish origin from Iran and Iraq claimed asylum after they arrived at Rosslare on Thursday afternoon, reported RTE.
The truck belongs to an Irish company, said the report, adding that the owner of the truck, together with the driver, is assisting with the police in the investigation.