Flimsy migrant boat lands safely near Dover as fishermen ask: Where's Border Force?

23 January 2022, 13:53

By Elizabeth Haigh

This is the moment a flimsy dinghy packed with migrants lands safely on a beach near Dover, while fishermen who filmed it can be heard criticising the lack of any visible coast guard or Border Force presence.

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The footage, which appears to show around 20 people on board the dinghy, records the moment the boat successfully reached Dover on Tuesday.

Fishermen can be heard in the video as the boat lands saying: "There we go. Madness."

One adds: "Not a copper in sight. Still no border force, still no coastguard."

As the boat travelled up the coastline to find a space to land, the fisherman said they were clearly trying to "find the tea stall".

"Good old Priti Patel with all her promises."

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One of the men who filmed the clip told LBC: "We came across a dinghy with migrants on board. The skipper contacted Dover coastguard to inform them.

"We then went to make sure they were all wearing life jackets."

The boat followed the dinghy for around 40 minutes to ensure it did not get into danger.

The fisherman added that the people on board "reached the shore and dispersed."

"At no time did border force, coastguard nor police come to monitor [or] contain them."

The footage comes after the government announced new plans to give the Ministry of Defence (MoD) command of the operation to prevent channel crossings. No start date is confirmed but the Navy is reportedly set to take charge 'within weeks.'

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The Royal Navy has reportedly rejected the plans over fears for migrants' safety and that the measures could be illegal.

A Ministry of Defence Spokesman told LBC this week: "Unacceptable numbers of people continue to make the dangerous Channel crossings and last November’s tragic deaths serve as the strongest reminder of the need to stop them.

"The Government is exploring every avenue to prevent further crossings and detail of how that can be achieved will be made known in due course."

Labour accused the government of trying to "distract from the total mess he is in" amid reports of Covid law-breaking parties at Number 10.

Read more: 'We would not storm migrant boats': Navy rejects plan to push back Channel refugees

It was rumoured last week that the Home Office was planning to send migrants to Ghana once they reached UK waters, prompting the Ghanian government to clarify that they had not been in any discussions with the UK on the topic.

It was also suggested that sonic weaopns may be used to turn back boats.

The decision to put the MoD in charge of channel crossings has triggered a widespread backlash as critics claim it is "cruel and inhumane."

A long-serving veteran of the Royal Navy told LBC this week: "We would not leave migrants to drown in the sea.

"We would not storm migrant boats," adding: "The Royal Navy is a compassionate service."