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Details emerge in case of 39 migrants found dead in truck near UK Ro/Ro Port

PortandTerminal.com, October 24, 2019

On Wednesday morning, the bodies of 39 Chinese nationals were found in a refrigerated truck trailer just outside the Purfleet freight terminal, a ro/ro freight ferry port 18 miles outside of London on the River Thames

ESSEX, ENGLANDThe 39 people who were found dead in a refrigerated truck trailer in England on Wednesday were already trapped when they arrived at the Belgian coast en route to England, local officials have said.

The Belgian officials said the eight women and 31 men would have been locked in the trailer at temperatures as low as -25C (-13F) for at least 10 hours after the trailer arrived at the port of Zeebrugge on Tuesday afternoon. While it has not been announced officially, in all probability the victims all died from hypothermia.

At minus 30 F (minus 34 C), an otherwise healthy person who isn’t properly dressed for the cold could experience hypothermia in as little as 10 minutes

Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City

The police have confirmed that the victims were all Chinese nationals. The BBC, however, is reporting today that some Vietnamese families believe that their relatives may be amongst the victims.

Port of Zeebrugge

The chief executive of Zeebrugge port, Joachim Coens, said the trailer would not have been interfered with after it arrived there at 2.49 pm. “A refrigerated container in the port zone is completely sealed,” he told Belgian media. “During the check, the seal is examined, as is the licence plate. The driver is checked by cameras.”

Just one in every 100 sealed containers at Zeebrugge are x-rayed, and none are checked for heat

Just one in every 100 sealed containers at Zeebrugge are x-rayed, and none are checked for heat, according to authorities at the Belgian port through which the 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex are believed to have travelled.

Shipping containers at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium

Coens explained that trucks with canvas containers were checked inside with CO2 devices to see if humans were present, and sniffer dogs were also deployed.

But asked if there were any other checks on sealed refrigerated containers, Coen said there was not. “If it’s sealed in a cooled container under temperature control, no.

A senior British ports official has said that all cargo compartments coming into the UK underwent anti-terrorist screening, but this did not necessarily include measures to detect whether humans were inside a cargo – technology that is widely available at points of departure on the European mainland.

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