At least 85 migrants arrive in UK after crossing Channel on dinghies

At least 85 migrants arrive in the UK after crossing the Channel on dinghies in the early hours – taking this year’s total to more than 4,500

  • Around 40 people were escorted into Dover harbour, Kent, on board an RNLI vessel at 3am, with mostly male group seen wrapped in warm coats and blankets
  • Shortly after 9am a second RNLI lifeboat brought around 15 migrants to shore
  • Less than an hour later, Border Force vessel escorted at least another 30 to port 
  • Home Office figures show at least 4,578 people have reached UK by small boat so far this year, with more than 3,000 migrants making the journey last month

At least seven boats carrying around 85 more migrants crossed the Channel this morning, bringing this year’s total so far to around 4,578.

Around 40 people were escorted from Dungeness to Dover harbour, Kent, on board an RNLI vessel at 3am, with the mostly male group seen wrapped in warm coats and blankets as they were led along the gangway to be processed.

Shortly after 9am a second RNLI lifeboat brought around 15 migrants to shore.

Less than an hour later, Border Force vessel Searcher escorted at least another 30 people to the port of Dover.

Today’s arrivals in Dungeness, Kent are just the second of the month after heavy winds in the Channel temporarily put a stop to small boat crossings.

Monday saw UK officials intercept up to 80 Channel migrants as people-smugglers take advantage of clear skies and calm waters. 

On 11 April UK officials escorted two small boats of men, women and children into Dover Harbour, Kent at around 7.30am, following a two-week break in crossings due to strong winds and bad weather.

The last crossing before that was on March 28 when 386 people made the perilous journey across the 21-mile Dover Strait in 12 boats.

Despite poor weather conditions at sea over the last two weeks, a group of migrants reportedly attempted to row the length of the Channel on Sunday 10 April, but were rescued by the French Navy after getting into difficulty, and returned to the port of Calais.

According to official Home Office figures, at least 4,578 people have reached the UK by small boat so far this year, with more than 3,000 migrants making the treacherous journey last month alone.

This is the highest monthly figure since November 2021 when 6,869 people crossed the Channel. 

At least seven boats carrying around 85 more migrants crossed the Channel this morning, bringing this year’s total so far to around 4,578. Migrants pictured on an RNLI Dungeness lifeboat

Around 40 people were escorted into Dover harbour, Kent, on board an RNLI vessel at 3am, with the mostly male group seen wrapped in warm coats and blankets (pictured) as they were led along the gangway to be processed

Shortly after 9am a second RNLI lifeboat brought around 15 migrants to shore. Less than an hour later, Border Force vessel Searcher escorted at least another 30 people to the port of Dover

Today’s arrivals at Dungeness are just the second of the month after heavy winds in the Channel temporarily put a stop to small boat crossings

Monday saw UK officials intercept up to 80 Channel migrants as people-smugglers take advantage of clear skies and calm waters (migrants pictured today in Dungeness, Kent

According to the Maritime Prefect, a patrol from the Gendarmerie Operations and Intelligence Centre reported the departure of a boat from Cran Poulet beach, northern France, on Sunday morning.

The French regional operation surveillance and rescue centre CROSS in Griz Nez engaged the public service patrol boat (PSP) Cormoran to intercept the migrants.

The crew then picked up 11 stranded people from the boat before dropping them off at the port of Calais where they were taken care of by the border police.

Today’s crossings means that over 4,500 migrants have arrived via small boats across the Channel this month – almost three times as many as March last year. In 2021, 28,526 migrants made the crossing from France

The Prefecture Maritime for the Channel said: ‘They are all safe and sound thanks to the efficiency and responsiveness of the actors acting daily for the action of the State at sea and the safeguard of human life: the CROSS Gris-Nez, the maritime prefecture and the operations center maritime forces, the French Navy, the maritime gendarmerie, sea users, as well as State units patrolling the sea daily.

‘The maritime prefect of the Channel and the North Sea warns anyone who plans to cross the Channel about the risks involved.

‘This maritime sector is one of the busiest areas in the world, the weather conditions are often difficult there (120 days of wind greater than or equal to force 7 on an annual average for example), it is therefore a particularly dangerous sector, especially during winter where the water temperature drops.’  

Despite poor weather conditions at sea over the last two weeks, a group of migrants reportedly attempted to row the length of the Channel on Sunday 10 April, but were rescued by the French Navy after getting into difficulty, and returned to the port of Calais. Child migrants pictured

According to official Home Office figures, at least 4,578 people have reached the UK by small boat so far this year, with more than 3,000 migrants making the treacherous journey last month alone. This is the highest monthly figure since November 2021 when 6,869 people crossed the Channel

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, said: ‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough’

3,075 people arrived on British soil in March – more than the total number of people who made the journey in January, February, March and April combined last year, and over triple the 831 who arrived in the entirety of March in 2021.

This level of small boat crossings was not seen on a monthly basis until the height of summer in 2021.

A total of 28,526 migrants crossed the Dover Strait last year – significantly higher than the 8,410 who arrived in 2020.

But the number of crossings is expected to increase over the coming weeks as Spring brings warmer weather and calmer conditions at sea.

Border Force union bosses have warned that this year could see at least 60,000 people arrive in the UK by small boat.

3,075 people arrived on British soil in March – more than the total number of people who made the journey in January, February, March and April combined last year, and over triple the 831 who arrived in the entirety of March in 2021

A total of 28,526 migrants crossed the Dover Strait last year – significantly higher than the 8,410 who arrived in 2020.

Border Force union bosses have warned that this year could see at least 60,000 people arrive in the UK by small boat

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.

‘Through our Nationality and Borders Bill, we’re cracking down on people smugglers and fixing the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into our country.’

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