'Armoured jet skis to be used by Border Force' to spin back migrant boats

11 September 2021, 15:06

The jet skis will reportedly be used to turn boats around mid-crossing.
The jet skis will reportedly be used to turn boats around mid-crossing. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Priti Patel is said to have authorised plans for armoured jet skis, or "personal water craft", to spin migrant boats attempting to cross the channel around mid-crossing.

The Home Secretary has reportedly overseen the final stages of a Border Force training programme which sees officers physically rotate boats in the channel.

The manoeuvre requires two jet skis, with one pushing the boat from its bow, and a second nudging the stern, to spin it around.

Under the plans, reported by The Sun, the jet skis would then escort the boat back to French waters under the assumption that migrants with no sailing expertise will not be able to turn it back towards the UK.

Read more: France and UK clash over ‘dangerous and illegal' plans to block migrant crossings

Read more: 'Extreme, illegal, cowardly': Patel's 'pushback' tactics for migrant boats condemned

Former Navy chief Admiral Lord West said the strategy could be dangerous.

"It's an accident waiting to happen. It's not clever and it is problematic."

He added that if sea conditions were not calm, or those on board do not cooperate with Border Force officers, boats could capsize.

Caller says UK action abroad is to blame for migrants 'risking life'

Officers are already using jet skis to patrol the channel, but this would be the first time they would be used to intervene in crossings.

This follows plans to spend £200 million on a fleet of border patrol boats to try and stop migrants from crossing the channel.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told LBC this morning that the Home Secretary is "rightly exploring every possible avenue" to address the situation.

Read more: Desperate migrants kiss British soil after making perilous trip across the Channel

It comes after the Home Secretary told G7 leaders she will authorise Border Force to use "pushback tactics" to prevent migrants from reaching the UK.

France's Interior Minister Gerard Darminin has claimed the pushback policy would be "contrary to international law".

Meanwhile Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: "That the home secretary is even considering these dangerous proposals shows how badly she has lost control of this situation."

LBC contacted the Home Office requesting confirmation of its plans. A Home Office Spokesperson said: "We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings, that’s why we continue to explore all options available to bring these numbers down.

'Rescue them, put them on a plane, and fly them back to France.'

"Our primary focus is on preventing people from entering the Channel, tackling the criminal gangs responsible and protecting lives.  

"As part of our ongoing operational response, we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options for stopping small boats.

"All operational procedures used at sea comply and are delivered in accordance with domestic and international law.

"We will fix the broken asylum system through our New Plan for Immigration, break the business model of people smugglers who put lives at risk and welcome people through safe and legal routes and as agreed at G7 we continue to cooperate with our international partners."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins is bankrupt, homeless and has "lost absolutely everything", according to his lawyer.

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has 'lost absolutely everything' as star faces selling medals following bankruptcy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer promises no capital gains tax on sales of homes as he dismisses tax hike claims

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza - as Palestinian death toll reaches '37,000'

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack since January

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes at Trooping the Colour

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes on Buckingham Palace balcony

Coventry's Radford Road, where the schoolboy was killed

Schoolboy killed in hit and run as police urgently look for driver

Police rammed the cow

Shock as police ram escaped cow on the street, as officers say it 'was hurt while being moved to safety'

Exclusive
c

Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

Kate and the royals came out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flypast

Kate joins King Charles and other royals on Buckingham Palace balcony for RAF flypast after Trooping the Colour

Exclusive
Ben Habib has hit back at suggestions Nigel Farage could join the Conservative party

Reform deputy hits back at suggestion Nigel Farage could join Tories, after leader tells LBC he could lead merged party

Olympic rings on the Eiffel Tower in Paris

IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics

The ride got stuck upside down

Horrifying moment people get stuck upside down on theme park ride, as dozens have to be rescued

David Cameron and Nigel Farage

David Cameron says Nigel Farage is trying to destroy the Conservative Party through Reform UK