A ferry company said 16 people have been discovered in a sealed trailer on a ferry sailing from Cherbourg in France to Rosslare in the Republic of Ireland.
Stena Line spokesman Ian Hampton said those found on the boat are reported to be in good health.
“During the Stena Horizon's 9pm sailing from Cherbourg, France, to Rosslare in the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday November 20, one of our employees during a routine inspection discovered 16 people in a sealed trailer on the vehicle deck,” he said.
“All the individuals are reported to be in good health and have been moved to a private passenger lounge on the ship where their wellbeing is the focus of our employees.”
He added: “Stena Line has alerted security and immigration officials in Rosslare so as the necessary arrangements can be made for the group on the vessel's arrival in Rosslare. The vessel is scheduled to arrive at approximately 3.30pm today.”
The Irish opposition party spokesman Jim O'Callaghan has demanded a full investigation into the incident.
“Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and needs to be tackled with fully resourced policing,” he said.
“Recent events show unfortunately Ireland is playing a significant part in this crime. These traffickers have to be thoroughly policed so vulnerable people are protected.”
The incident comes just days after 25 people were found in a refrigerated container on board a ship headed for the UK just off the coast of the Netherlands.
Last month 39 people were found dead inside a container in Essex which had arrived in the UK via ferry from Belgium.
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