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Channel-crossing migrants hits 20,000 total for the year

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This is the moment a Channel ferry was forced to stop and rescue migrants in a sinking dinghy – as the number of illegal crossings this year breached 20,000. 

Photos taken from onboard the Isle of Ishinore show more than a dozen migrants on a packed boat being propelled through the world’s busiest shipping lane by a single man holding a flimsy paddle. 

The ferry stopped midway through a crossing from Dover to Calais after the craft was spotted drifting 10.45am, with the captain telling passengers: ‘Apologies for the delay but we had to stop and rescue 13 migrants in distress who’s boat had run out of fuel and was sinking’. 

The ship dispatched a rescue craft which threw a rope to the stricken boat so it could be pulled alongside. The crew hauled all 13 migrants to safety and found two of them were without life jackets. They were all taken to Calais. 

It comes a day after footage emerged of migrants celebrating arriving in Britain by chanting ‘Yay, UK is good’ as they being ferried into Dover on an RNLI lifeboat. 

The video was taken yesterday as 456 more migrants arrived from France in 15 small craft, bringing the total number of people who have made the perilous journey so far this year to an astonishing 20,198. 

This is more than double the 8,410 who arrived in Britain last year, and the figure will soon increase after more migrants were seen arriving today. 

Numbers have risen dramatically despite Priti Patel vowing to make Channel crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ by spring 2020. 

Facing increasing pressure to ‘get a grip’ on the crisis, she recently agreed to hand a further £54million to Emmanuel Macron’s administration in France to step up patrols on their coast.

‘Pushback’ tactics – to stop migrant boats and divert them back to France – have also been authorised by Miss Patel, but have yet to come into force. The French oppose these tactics, saying they breach maritime law.

The Isle of Ishinore stopped midway through a crossing from Dover to Calais after the craft was spotted drifting 10.45am today. It dispatched a boat (right) to rescue the migrants (left)

The Isle of Ishinore stopped midway through a crossing from Dover to Calais after the craft was spotted drifting 10.45am today. It dispatched a boat (right) to rescue the migrants (left) 

Shocking photos taken from onboard the ferry showed more than a dozen migrants on a packed dinghy being propelled through the world's busiest shipping lane by a single man holding a flimsy paddle

Shocking photos taken from onboard the ferry showed more than a dozen migrants on a packed dinghy being propelled through the world’s busiest shipping lane by a single man holding a flimsy paddle

The ship dispatched a rescue craft which threw a rope to the stricken boat so it could be pulled alongside. The crew pulled all 13 migrants to safety and found two of them were without life jackets. They were all taken back to Calais

The ship dispatched a rescue craft which threw a rope to the stricken boat so it could be pulled alongside. The crew pulled all 13 migrants to safety and found two of them were without life jackets. They were all taken back to Calais

It comes a day after footage emerged of migrants celebrating arriving in Britain by chanting 'Yay, UK is good' as they being ferried into Dover on an RNLI lifeboat

It comes a day after footage emerged of migrants celebrating arriving in Britain by chanting ‘Yay, UK is good’ as they being ferried into Dover on an RNLI lifeboat 

Yesterday's arrivals brought the total of migrants who have crossed the Channel in 2021 so far to 20,198 - more than double the 8,410 who arrived in Britain last year

Yesterday’s arrivals brought the total of migrants who have crossed the Channel in 2021 so far to 20,198 – more than double the 8,410 who arrived in Britain last year 

Migrants being brought into Dover today as the number of crossings for 2021 surpassed 20,000

Migrants being brought into Dover today as the number of crossings for 2021 surpassed 20,000 

A Group of migrants including some children are brought to shore by Border Force vessel Hurricane

A Group of migrants including some children are brought to shore by Border Force vessel Hurricane

A Group of migrants including some children are brought to shore this morning by Border Force vessel Hurricane

Today, more migrants were seen arriving onboard the Morrell, an RNLI lifeboat based at Dungeness, Kent, which brought the first group in to Dover Marina shortly before 7am.

Two men wearing lifejackets were seen being walked up the gangway by Immigration Enforcement for processing while their small black dinghy was towed into harbour.

Five suspected asylum seekers are found in a refrigerated lorry  

The group of five people, thought to have been suffering from hypothermia, were found in the rear of a loaded 44-tonne refrigerated lorry

The group of five people, thought to have been suffering from hypothermia, were found in the rear of a loaded 44-tonne refrigerated lorry

Five people believed to be refugees have been discovered in the back of a refrigerated lorry.  

Emergency services were called at around 8.10pm on Tuesday evening to the Poyle Interchange on the M25 Northbound. 

The group of five people, thought to have been suffering from hypothermia, were found in the rear of a loaded 44-tonne refrigerated lorry near to the Harmondsworth immigration removal centre. 

Traffic officers from Thames Valley Police were alerted to the find and called in firefighters to assist with oxygen and a specialist thermal imaging camera. 

A number of people were removed from the rear of the lorry and wrapped in silver space blankets before being taken to the hospital for a check-up.

Those involved have now been handed over to UK border force.  

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said one crew from Heathrow attended and used a thermal imaging camera to check the lorry to make sure there were no further stowaways aboard.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: ‘We were called by our colleagues in Surrey to reports of five people being inside a refrigerated lorry on the M25.

‘Officers from Surrey Police stopped the lorry and Thames Valley Police arrested a 48-year-old man on suspicion of illegally helping asylum seekers to enter the United Kingdom.

‘He remains in police custody at this time.

‘In terms of an update on the five people inside the lorry, this is being dealt with by Surrey Police.’

Approximately 40 more migrants were seen packed onto Border Force cutter Hunter before disembarking around 8am.

The Morrell returned to the harbour again with around 30 people on board half an hour later.

Border Force’s largest catamaran Hurricane was also been bringing dozens of migrants to shore.

It had to double park with a lifeboat and wait to disembark its rescued occupants, draped in red blankets for warmth, around 10.30am this morning.

Many of the men carried their possessions in clear plastic bags. 

The RNLI’s Dungeness vessel was also said to be working through the night on search and rescue.

Onlookers monitoring activity in the Channel off the Kent coast predict today could see higher numbers of arrivals than yestersday.

People smugglers are using the brief break in bad weather to push as many boats from French shores as they possibly can after a week-long lull in crossings.

They appear to be unfazed by the added risk of using nighttime hours to send more migrants on the perilous voyage.

French authorities were called to rescue multiple boats in difficulty on Monday night continuing into Tuesday with the assistance of French Navy helicopter Dauphin to search for migrants in the dead of night.

The Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said French Navy rescue tug Abeille Languedoc saved 108 migrants in three rescue operations before dropping them off at Loon-Plage.

All-weather boat Jean Bart II of the National Society for Rescue at Sea rescued 32 more and took them to the port of Dunkirk.

The SNSM’s Notre Dame du Risban vessel took a further 33 back to Calais port.

And the Dunkirk port security brigade recovered 36 migrants who were returned to Loon-Plage. 

It comes after migrants arriving yesterday became the first to undertake the dangerous crossing in a week, and dozens were brought in to Dover Marina, Kent, before 9am.

Around 12 men were sat in a white and blue rigid hulled inflatable boat being towed into harbour by Border Force shortly after 8am. 

They were followed by another 10 people draped in blue blankets for warmth around 45 minutes later. 

A third group consisting of around eight migrants wearing orange lifejackets were brought in on a Border Force boat shortly afterwards.

They all disembarked at the harbour and were escorted up the gangway by Immigration Enforcement for processing.

The RNLI’s Dover Lifeboat went out around 9.30am to rescue around 30 more migrants.

A girl of primary school age was on board when it returned to harbour again around noon.

Border Force cutter Valiant had been intercepting migrants in the Channel and transferring them onto smaller RHIBs. 

Their vessel Hunter was also on search and rescue patrols off the Kent coast after around 25 migrants were spotted in a dinghy.

Pictured: A group of migrants are brought to shore today by RNLI Dover Lifeboat/Hunter

Pictured: A group of migrants are brought to shore today by RNLI Dover Lifeboat/Hunter

Border Force out today as the number of migrants to have crossed the Channel passes 20,000

Border Force out today as the number of migrants to have crossed the Channel passes 20,000

A mere 475 made the crossing in October 2020, compared to 2,669 that made the journey despite poor weather conditions last month. Above: Migrants in Dover, Kent on Tuesday

A mere 475 made the crossing in October 2020, compared to 2,669 that made the journey despite poor weather conditions last month. Above: Migrants in Dover, Kent on Tuesday

Pictured: Emergency services on the M25 Northbound after five people believed to be refugees were found with suspected hypothermia in the rear of a 44-tonne refrigerated lorry

Pictured: Emergency services on the M25 Northbound after five people believed to be refugees were found with suspected hypothermia in the rear of a 44-tonne refrigerated lorry

Priti Patel says deaths of up to three migrants who are feared to have drowned in the Channel is an ‘absolute tragedy’ 

Priti Patel last week said the deaths of up to three migrants who are feared to have drowned in the Channel after trying to reach Britain by boat was an ‘absolute tragedy’.

The individuals are still unaccounted for after trying to cross from France to the UK in a dinghy earlier this month .

Two men – both Somali nationals – were rescued off the Essex coast last Monday and searches for any remaining survivors have now been called off.

Speaking while visiting the Thames Valley Police Training Centre in Reading, Priti Patel said: ‘It is a tragedy. It is an absolute tragedy, it really is.

‘Clearly there are investigations taking place right now so we have to let that investigation process occur.

‘But I can give everyone solid, solid assurance that my work with both France and other counterparts as well is very much based on stopping the loss of life.’

Asked what she would say to their families, Ms Patel said: ‘It is terrible, it is tragic and it is absolutely appalling.

‘We want to stop the loss of human life, and everything that we are doing as a Government is focusing on ensuring that we work in joint co-operation with other governments and other countries to actually get to the source of these issues, which is to stop the people-smuggling.’ 

Stormy weather has made the treacherous trip even more life-threatening – as tragically shown when at least one migrant was presumed dead in an emergency incident off Harwich, Essex.

Their very tiny boat is believed to have drifted off course in the high winds and could have been at sea for as long as 72 hours before two migrants were rescued.

October saw a total of 2,669 migrants make the Channel crossing in 92 boats.

Elsewhere, maritime gendarmerie coastal surveillance boat Escaut recovered 34 migrants while Customs Coast Guard patroller Jacques Oudart Fourmentinis saved 49 people in two operations. 

That is six times more than the 463 who arrived in 33 boats in the same month last year. 

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: ‘These journeys are illegal, dangerous, unnecessary and facilitated by violent criminal gangs profiting from misery.

‘We are working with the French to stop boats leaving their beaches and crack down on the criminals driving these crossings.

‘People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. The Government’s New Plan for Immigration will fix the system, making it firm on those who abuse it and fair on those in genuine need.’ 

The men were brought into harbour in the hull alongside a tropical-themed blow up boat decorated with pictures of colourful flowers and exotic parrots.

More migrants continued to make the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait into the late afternoon due to good visibility – but conditions at sea remained choppy.

They were among the first arrivals in a week since 145 arrived in five boats  on October 26.

The Home Office confirmed figures late on Tuesday night.

It said French authorities also prevented an additional 343 migrants from reaching the UK by intercepting seven boats.  

Masked migrants are brought to shore by Border Force officials aboard their cutter Hunter

Masked migrants are brought to shore by Border Force officials aboard their cutter Hunter

The large group are taken ashore in Dover for processing by Border Force officials on Tuesday

The large group are taken ashore in Dover for processing by Border Force officials on Tuesday

More are expected to make the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait throughout the day due to good visibility - but conditions at sea remain choppy

More are expected to make the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait throughout the day due to good visibility – but conditions at sea remain choppy

A mere 475 made the crossing in October 2020, compared to 2,669 that made the journey despite poor weather conditions last month. Pictured: A group arrive in Dungeness last month

A mere 475 made the crossing in October 2020, compared to 2,669 that made the journey despite poor weather conditions last month. Pictured: A group arrive in Dungeness last month

September saw the highest monthly total with 3,879 migrants making the dangerous crossing

September saw the highest monthly total with 3,879 migrants making the dangerous crossing



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