Border Force stops boat with up to 35 migrants off Sussex coast

Border Force stops boat in ferrying up to 35 migrants towards Sussex coast – the second Channel dash made since UK officially left EU on New Year’s Day

  • Boat believed to be carrying 35 migrants including 5 children was located at sea
  • It was brought into Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, East Sussex on January 9 
  • Rescue teams scrambled after reports of boat in difficulty 23 miles off coast
  • Comes after first migrants crossed Channel last week after UK’s exit from the EU 

Border Force has stopped a boat ferrying up to 35 migrants towards the Sussex coast, the second Channel dash made since the UK officially left the EU on New Year’s Day.

Lifeboats were launched Saturday afternoon to rescue the migrants from a boat, which is believed to have been carrying children and five injured people.

Teams of coastguards and RNLI Lifeboats from Eastbourne and Newhaven, as well as Bexhill, Eastbourne and Langdon Battery Coastguard Rescue Teamswere called to the rescue mission at around 12:45pm.

They received reports of a vessel ‘with approximately 30 people on board’ in difficulty about 23 miles south of Beachy Head.

Pictured: Migrants arrive at theSovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, East Sussex on Saturday, after a rescue operation was launched to save a boat ‘in difficulty’

Emergency services received reports of a vessel ‘with approximately 30 people on board’ in difficulty about 23 miles south of Beachy Head. Pictured: A person is helped ashore

Pictured: A young migrant is carried by police officer. Teams of coastguards and RNLI Lifeboats from Eastbourne and Newhaven, as well as Bexhill, Eastbourne and Langdon Battery Coastguard Rescue Teamswere called to the rescue mission at around 12:45pm

HM Coastguard confirmed earlier today to the BBC that it was ‘coordinating a search and rescue response’ after receiving a report that the ‘with approximately 30 people on board was in difficulty’.

The organisation said it was ‘concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities’. 

At the Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, East Sussex, migrants were pictured arrived, including children and 5 who were reportedly injured. 

Emergency service teams – including lifeguards and police offers – were seen helping people ashore, including children wrapped in blankets being carried to safety.

Sussex Police told The Argus that Border Force were at the scene, and several people have been detained. 

Pictured: Two young migrants are escorted by lifeguards after disembarking a lifeboat

35 migrants arrived including 5 who were injured. It comes after the first migrants crossed The Channel last week after the UK’s exit from the EU

On Saturday afternoon police supported Border Force staff in receiving a number of people suspected of not having authority to enter the UK, who had been on a vessel towed safely by the RNLI into Sovereign Harbour at Eastbourne,’ A spokesman for the force told the news outlet. 

‘Those detained are being taken into custody and care by Border Force for further enquiries.’ 

Facilities at the harbour were being made ready to bring the people ashore earlier today following the emergency call.

In its full statement to the MailOnline, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: ‘HM Coastguard has been coordinating a search and rescue response to an incident 23 miles south of Beachy Head.

‘A report was received just after midday that a vessel with approximately 30 people on board was in difficulty. We sent Eastbourne and Newhaven RNLI lifeboats, and Bexhill, Eastbourne and Langdon Battery Coastguard Rescue Teams.

‘HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.’

The MailOnline has contacted the Home Office for comment. 

Though Britain’s new trade deal came into force on January 1, and new laws on asylum seekers along with it, the rules remain largely the same for those attempting the crossing

HM Coastguard confirmed earlier today to the BBC that it was ‘coordinating a search and rescue response’ after receiving a report that the ‘with approximately 30 people on board was in difficulty’. Pictured: An officer carries a person to shore

One boat carrying around 10 people was intercepted and brought into Dover Marina, Kent, shortly before 5am on January 2. Pictured: Emergency workers escort young migrants

Today’s crossing comes after the first migrants crossed The Channel last week after the UK’s exit from the EU.

One boat carrying around 10 people was intercepted and brought into Dover Marina, Kent, shortly before 5am on January 2. 

Border Force towed the blue and white rigid hulled inflatable boat into the harbour before escorting the migrants up the gangway to be processed. 

In 2020, four times as many migrants made the dangerous crossing than in 2019, official figures show, with more than 8,400 making the dangerous crossing, up from 1,844 the previous year.

Speaking at the end of 2020, Chris Philp – Minister for immigration compliance –  said: ‘France is a safe country with a well-functioning asylum system.

‘People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making a dangerous and illegally-facilitated crossing.

‘We continue to work closely with the French following our agreement to take further action to tackle illegal migration, through increasing police patrols and surveillance.’

Pictured: A lifeguard helps a young migrant down a flight of steps off a lifeboat on Saturday

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a new deal with France at the end of November, after 757 people crossed, in an attempt to prevent crossings from disembarking from their shores

Groups of migrants attempted the perilous crossing either side of the end of the Brexit transition deal. 

One group were rescued and brought to Dover on New Year’s Eve and another were rescued by French officials on New Year’s Day. 

Though Britain’s new trade deal came into force on January 1, and new laws on asylum seekers along with it, the rules remain largely the same for those attempting the crossing.

Britain has said it will no longer accept asylum claims at sea, paving a way for those crossing The Channel to be returned to France.

But the UK will not be permitted to do that until an agreement with France is reached.

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a new deal with France at the end of November, after 757 people crossed, in an attempt to prevent crossings from disembarking from their shores.

She pledged up to £28milllion to double patrols along a 90-mile stretch of French coastline to scupper people smuggling gangs – seen as one of the root causes of the issue.

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