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Dutch navy finds three stowaways on Ebola aid ship

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(THE HAGUE) - Dutch sailors discovered three stowaways aboard the navy's largest support ship after returning from a trip to West Africa to drop off supplies to fight Ebola, officials said on Tuesday.

"The three men slipped on board via anchor ropes" after the Karel Doorman docked in Dakar harbour on its way back from dropping its cargo, the Dutch defence ministry said in a statement.

"The men hid in several places including in a lifeboat," it said.

After being discovered, the men underwent medical examinations.

"They were not infected with Ebola or any other serious medical condition," the ministry said.

The three men will be handed over to border police upon the Karel Doorman's return to its home port of Den Helder in the Netherlands on Saturday.

The Royal Dutch Navy's largest ship has undertaken two missions to take supplies to Ebola-hit countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea over the last three months.

Cargo included some 50 vehicles, 40 containers with clothing including protective suits for aid workers, beds and 1,700 crates of rice.

More than 8,600 people have died from the worst-ever outbreak of the haemorrhagic virus.

Overall, some 22,000 people have been infected so far, according to the World Health Organisation, which has begun to record a decline in infections.

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