Ship stowaways request asylum

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Two stowaways aboard a Swedish container ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, are claiming refugee status and experts say they expect their immigration hearing soon.

Julie Chamagne, executive director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic, said the stowaways whose countries of origin are unknown, should have their hearings no later than Monday, The Web site reported Friday.


Chamagne said she hadn't met with the refugees or had the chance to explain immigration protocols, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

"At the moment they're being detained on immigration grounds for lack of identification or perhaps because they're considered a flight risk," Chamagne said. "The process though is that an individual would be detained and we would interview them, fingerprint them, try and confirm their identity, especially if they don't have identification on them."

Canadian Border Services officers searched the ship for other possible stowaways.

"It's a little odd because if there are other people on the boat, one would think they would voluntarily come forward to claim refugee status here," Halifax immigration lawyer Lee Cohen told The ChronicleHerald.

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