Montreal

4 men found in shipping container in Montreal are seeking asylum

Four men from Georgia, who were found last week inside a shipping container at the Port of Montreal, are seeking asylum in Canada.

Men were only found because container they were in had a vehicle that needed inspection

The four men found last week inside a shipping container at the Port of Montreal are from Georgia. (Radio-Canada)

Four men, who were found last week inside a shipping container at the Port of Montreal, are seeking asylum in Canada.

At a refugee board hearing on Monday, it emerged the men are from Georgia and came to Canada willingly.

Further details from the hearing are protected by a publication ban, including the identities of the men and their reasons for coming to Canada. 

The men were in a container that arrived onboard the Hong Kong-flagged ship OOCL Montreal. The vessel arrived in Montreal on July 19 at 2:35 a.m. but the men weren't found until July 20th at 7:00 a.m.

According to a government lawyer at the hearing, if it wasn't for a customs technicality, the men might not have made it out of the shipping container alive.

The men, who are in their 30s and 40s, were discovered because they were in a container that held a vehicle, which needed to be inspected before it was cleared for entry into Canada.

The container was set aside for inspection, and a security guard was passing near the container when he heard cries for help. The men had also drilled holes in the top of the container and were waving a makeshift flag.

The security guard immediately opened the doors of the container and then called 911, asking for ambulance services, the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The men were in poor condition and had to be taken to hospital. They were suffering from dehydration and heat stroke. Their refugee board hearing was delayed until Monday to allow them to recover.

Two of the men spoke at the hearing, emphasizing they don't have a criminal background.

One also said he expected to be taken into custody and was thankful to Canada for the way he's been treated so far, including the medical help.