Report: Two Border Force Ships Sitting Idle as Migrant Boats Surge Across Channel

Channel
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Two UK Border Force cutters have been sitting idle in Suffolk as illegal migrants surge across the English Channel in record-breaking numbers, according to reports.

HMC Protector and HMC Searcher have allegedly been idling in Lowestoft Harbour well over a hundred miles from the scene of the action in the ongoing Channel crisis, with another cutter many hundreds of miles away in the Aegean Sea to pick up migrants heading to Greece, leaving just two covering the main route to Britain from France.

“It’s a disgrace that you’ve got hundreds of migrants arriving each week and two of the cutters are sat 140 miles away,” an unnamed source told The Sun.

“There’s never any activity near the vessel at all from what I can tell,” they continued.

“They’re just sat there. It seems ridiculous when record numbers of migrants are crossing. What a waste of use and also money.”

The source highlighted the fact that “People are screaming ‘get the Navy down to the channel’,”, suggesting that “maybe if Border Force were there in full-force then something would happen.”

“Surely Border Force should be using all of its resources to stop these crossings,” they added — but in fact, this misses a key issue with the response of Borish Johnson’s administration in general and Priti Patel’s Home Office in particular to the Channel crisis — namely that, once intercepted by British vessels, migrant boats are not turned around but simply picked up and brought the rest of the way to England.

Until this policy changes, therefore, an increased Border Force or even Royal Navy presence would only help to bring illegal migrants across from France even faster, possibly in larger numbers.

Responding to the allegations, a Border Force spokesman insisted that “Since March, both HMC Searcher and HMC Protector have been continually deployed in support of Border Force Maritime operations, including the interception of small boats, other than during planned maintenance or owing to compulsory maritime training.”

“We have a permanent Border Force presence of three vessels dedicated to the small boats crossings in the Dover Straits and we are working closely with the French to make this route completely unviable,” they added generically, also skipping over the fact that all their cutters do on intercepting boat migrants is pick them up and bring them the rest of the way to England.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has also witnessed the French, who in fact are only thought to be stopping about a fifth of the migrants setting off from their coast, “shadowing” migrants into Brtish waters without obstructing them, and even handing migrants over to the UK Border Force.

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