Sixteen people have been discovered alive in the back of a truck on a ferry en route to the Rosslare Europort, in County Wexford. 

Ferry staff found the group after they heard banging coming from the truck, RTÉ report. The vehicle was aboard a Stena Line ferry, traveling from Cherbourg, in France. Officers have stated that it is very unfortunate that the incident did not become a major tragedy. 

The group found inside the truck were all men, believed to be aged between 20 and 40 years old. They told officials they had traveled from Belgium up to five days ago and were from a country in the Middle East. Details on the profiles of the men are yet to be confirmed. 

The men are reportedly in reasonably good health. They were brought to a lounge area on the ferry, following the discovery. 

The ship left Cherbourg, in France, on Wed, Nov 20 at 9:30 pm and docked in Rosslare Port at 2:30 pm (GMT) on Thursday, an hour ahead of schedule in bad weather. 

Sixteen people have been found alive in a sealed trailer on a ferry sailing from Cherbourg in France to Rosslare in Ireland.

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Gardaí (Irish police) and medical personnel boarded the ferry shortly after it docked and it is believed the migrants underwent an initial medical examination while still on the boat. 

Police are also working to identify the men and to put support, including accommodation, in place. The driver and owner of the vehicle are believed to be co-operating with inquiries.

In a statement released by Stena Line, they 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.

“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 3.30 pm today.”

Gardaí are investigating after 16 people were found in a lorry container on a ferry at Rosslare Port in #Wexford@NewsChambers #VMNews is LIVE with the latest: pic.twitter.com/OJX9cUk3iw

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Recent Essex tragedy

This shocking news comes less than a month after the discovery of 39 Vietnamese people dead in the back of a truck in Grays, near London (Oct 23). The truck, which had just docked at Purfleet, in Essex, had also come from Belgium. The deceased were made up of 31 males and eight women, including ten teenagers. Two were aged 15, another was 17, while the oldest among the dead was 44.

Eight people have been arrested in connection to this crime in Vietnam.

Two Irishmen, Mo Robinson (25), from Laurelvale in County Armagh and  Eamon Harrison (23), from Mayobridge, County Down were both drivers who transported the container in question. They have both been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

Also, an Irish couple Joanna and Thomas Maher, now living in Warrington in England, was arrested but have since been released. 

Police are still searching for County Armagh brothers Ronan Hughes (40), who also goes by the name Rowan, and his brother Christopher (34).

An ambulance leaving the ferry where up to 16 people have been found alive in the back of truck on a ferry, which is en route to Rosslare Europort in Co Wexford.Getty