Govt Source: More Border Force Boats in English Channel Will Encourage Illegal Migration

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: The new Border Force cutter HMC Protector prepares to dock in front of Tower Bridge after arriving for her official launch on March 16, 2014 in London, England. The cutter, will be launched by the Home Secretary Theresa May MP on March 17, 2014, is …
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A government source has warned that prospective plans to increase the number of border force patrol boats in the English Channel will encourage illegal migration.

“More ships means migrants crossing in dinghies will only have to reach British boats rather than make it all the way across the Channel,” the Whitehall source told The Telegraph.

“This could encourage more migrants to take the risk. If we had patrol ships strung right across the Channel that makes it easier not harder for the migrants,” they added.

Matt Coker, a fishing boat captain, agreed, saying:  “We’ve all got a duty to help rescue boats in distress — its an unwritten law of the sea — but the long-term term effect of that is likely to be to encourage them to come across.”

The Government source’s comments come in response to Home Secretary Sajid Javid announcing Wednesday that he was considering increasing the number of high-speed cutters patrolling in the English Channel from two to three.

The Border Force currently has five ships: two in the Channel, one on standby, and two in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas to pick up boat migrants travelling from Africa and Asia.

Mr Javid said the additional deployment would “become a humanitarian and rescue mission and there’s a risk that kind of activity can encourage more people to cross the Channel.”

He also disclosed that 100 migrants had attempted travelling by boat from France in the past three months — however, The Telegraph estimates that 200 migrants have attempted the illegal crossing in two months, based on French figures.

A Home Office spokesman said “deployments of our coastal patrol” had been increased “in light of recent events.”

In the past week, there have been several attempted or successful crossings by illegal aliens from France to the UK, mostly landing in the Kent fishing town of Dover, and mostly by Iranians.

The BBC and other migrant charities have said that the increase was due to smugglers telling illegals to make it to the UK as soon as possible before “the borders shut properly” once the country leaves the European Union on March 29th, 2019.

The Telegraph speculates that the surge in specifically Iranian migrants is due to them being wealthier than the Eritrean or Afghan migrants waiting in Calais to break into Britain, with people smugglers charging illegals £6,000 to cross by boat.

A Serb migrant NGO has also noted that the rise of Iranians seeking asylum in Europe could be a result of the Baltic country having had relaxed visas with Iran to boost tourism. More than 15,000 Iranians had travelled to Serbia since the restrictions were lifted August 17th, 2017.

However, Serbia’s government suspended visa-free travel for Iranians in October 2018, according to Radio Free Europe, after recognising the programme was being “abused” for illegal migration to the EU, with Serb media reporting direct flights from Tehran to Belgrade were arriving full, but returning empty.

In May 2017, the Libyan government criticised the EU’s Mediterranean naval operation, Operation Sophia, for “encouraging” migration.

The year before, a damning report by the House of Lords said that the EU mission was “failing” in its objectives to disrupt gangs of people smugglers, finding that of 9,000 migrants picked up by European vessels in a 60-day period, Royal Navy ships transported 7,767 to the continent.


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