A UK Border Force vessel rescued a group of fifty migrants that they were crammed into an unstable rubber dinghy in the Channel, trying to cross the perilous voyage. Despite the offer of help from a French Navy warship, the migrants refused to be rescued, preferring to be picked up by the Border Force vessel and taken to Dover.
Video images and maritime radio exchanges between the Border Force ship Ranger and the warship Formentin, obtained by the Mailrevealed close collaboration between the French and British authorities to ensure the boat’s safe journey to the UK.
The migrants reportedly refused the French navy’s offer of ransom because they wished to avoid being sent back to France, hoping for a chance to claim asylum in Britain.
His arrival in Dover coincided with the release of data from the Office for National Statistics, which revealed a record net migration of 606,000 people to the UK last year.
When transferring the migrants to the Ranger, the crew thanked the captain of the Formentin and his team for their support during the rescue, as heard by maritime radio communications.
Sea charts indicate that the Formentin began to accompany the boat from the French coast before dawn, shortly after it left a beach near Wimereux, a few miles from Boulogne.
The warship stayed with the migrants for four hours as they sailed through rough seas and windy on their way to the UK.
The first radio communication between the Formentin and the Ranger occurred before 7 am when the boat was still on the French side of the Channel.
The captain of the warship said in broken English: “We asked the (immigrant) boat if they need our help. They tell me they only want help from the UK. But there is a lot of agitation on the boat.”
Despite the fact that the rubber dinghy was still in French territorial waters, an officer aboard the Border Force vessel Ranger offered assistance, acknowledging that the migrants were hoping for help from the UK.
The officer said: “I understand. They are waiting for help from the UK. We are now about to effect our rescue.”
The officer advised the French warship to use its inflatable RHIBs (motor boats) to closely monitor the safety of the migrants until the Border Force vessel reaches a predetermined rendezvous point in the middle of the Channel.
Witnesses in the Canal reported that the 50 migrants were transferred to the Ranger, while another Border Force vessel later recovered their empty black boat.
This occurs when the analysis carried out by the Press Association media agency of the figures from the Ministry of the Interior reveals that the total number of people who have crossed the Channel so far this year is 7,395.
By comparison, last year there were a total of 45,755 crossings, while the numbers were 28,526 in 2021, 8,466 in 2020 and 1,843 in 2019.
The Home Office has projected a worst-case scenario of 85,000 arrivals via small boats for this year.
The skipper of a fishing boat who saw the operation today said: “The migrants refuse to return to France and even if their lives are in danger, they will not board a French warship if they are returned there.”
“What’s amazing is that the Border Force is cooperating with the demands of immigrants, even though they come to Britain illegally and many are economic migrants, not refugees.”
The skipper added: “We who work on the Canal have come to the conclusion that the smugglers who run the small boats and make millions advise the migrants that they must scream for the British to rescue them so that the fees will be paid. “.
“If the immigrants are returned to France, the traffickers are left empty-handed.”