Six suspected refugees rescued from small boat off Kent coast

Border Force patrol officers took group ashore at Dover after early-hours discovery

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 11 December 2018 10:02 GMT
Border Force patrol boat in Dover Marina in Kent following migrant rescue in November
Border Force patrol boat in Dover Marina in Kent following migrant rescue in November (PA)

Six suspected refugees using a tiny boat to cross the English Channel overnight have been rescued six miles off the coast of Kent.

Coastguards and a lifeboat crew were called at around 3.30am on Tuesday to a small craft in the Dover Strait shipping lane. Border Force patrol officers then brought the group ashore at Dover.

It follows a spate of migrant rescues in the same shipping lane last month.

More than 100 people, most claiming to be from Iran, have reached UK shores crossing the English Channel since the beginning of November.

Many of them have been found using inflatable dinghies in the Dover-Calais route – the busiest shipping lane in the world.

British authorities have issued warnings about the danger of taking small boats across the channel.

One of the inflatable dinghies discovered in the shipping lane in November was first spotted by passengers on board a passing ferry. The migrants were wearing life jackets and blowing whistles for help.

“The coastguard arrived within 10 minutes as they were clearly in trouble and in the shipping lane,” said a Danish passenger. “They were shouting for help. It was heartbreaking to watch.”

The Home Office confirmed the latest rescue, but has not provided further details of the type of small vessel.

Charlie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover and Deal, has called the number of migrant boats crossing the English Channel “unprecedented and deeply concerning.”

Two men from the Fulham area in London were jailed last month for conspiring to bring migrants into the country illegally using inflatable boats.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in