The British government’s failure to stop the people-smuggling of illegal migrants across the English Channel has reportedly taken another tragic turn, as up to three migrants are believed to have drowned.
A massive search off the coast of Harwich, Essex on Monday and Tuesday saw two Somali migrants rescued after their “completely unsuitable” dinghy drifted off course on Saturday in a 72-hour ordeal and ultimately began to sink.
The rescued men said that three others were on board the vessel but had fallen overboard, The Times reported, once again demonstrating the perils of illegal immigration via the busy waterway.
The “extensive” search, which included Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Border Force vessels as well as a helicopter and plane, led by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), was called off Tuesday afternoon after failing to find the migrants.
The Home Office has yet to confirm the claims of the Somali migrants however, sources told the paper that it is fair to assume that the three migrants have died at sea.
A spokesman told the BBC: “While the investigation into this incident continues, it is a reminder of the extreme dangers of crossing the Channel in small boats and the callous disregard for life shown by the criminal gangs.”
The Home Office added that the government remains “determined to do everything we can to prevent people dying in the Channel” — despite its failure to contain the crisis having gone on for years now.
The incident comes just days after Brexit leader Nigel Farage warned of a potential tragedy in the Channel, writing on Sunday: “These migrants had their boat fall apart and fell into the sea today, all rescued on the French side. They were lucky… it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes.”
Should the deaths be confirmed, it would be the largest loss of life since an Iranian family of five, including two small children, drowned off the coast of Dunkirk last October. More than a dozen migrants have either gone missing or drowned in the English Channel since the beginning of 2019.
They would join the tragic trend seen across Europe in which illegal migrants are often lured to their deaths by people-smugglers, who take huge sums of money in exchange for providing passage on often unseaworthy boats.
In response to the growing crisis in the English Channel, Home Secretary Priti Patel claimed that the government would finally look to implement a “turn back the boats” approach and send the migrants back to France — a safe, first world EU member-state from which migrants have no legitimate reason to flee.
The government has yet to implement such a system, and questions remain as to whether the Border Force will have the stomach for it, with some migrants threatening in the past to throw their own children overboard if attempts were made to turn them back to France.
The crisis in the Channel has shown no signs of slowing down, despite the Boris Johnson administration’s rhetoric, with another 145 illegals crossing on Tuesday, taking the total number of confirmed boat migrant arrivals to nearly 20,000 since the start of the year.
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