Children carried ashore and jet-ski recovered as more migrants cross Channel

A total of 1,185 people reached the UK in small boats on Thursday

Michael Drummond
Monday 15 November 2021 17:01
<p>Tensions between Britain and France have been mounting </p>

Tensions between Britain and France have been mounting

Young children were carried ashore in Dover on Monday after more people risked death crossing the English Channel.

They were among dozens of people ferried to the Kent port aboard a Border Force patrol boat. Many were men, but border officials were also seen ushering at least six children up the gangway.

There were also reports that the RNLI has recovered a jet-ski used to cross the Channel and towed it ashore in Dungeness.

Monday’s arrivals come after 1,185 people reached the UK aboard small boats on Thursday, a new record for a single day in the current crisis.

More than 23,500 people have now reached the UK after crossing the English Channel on board small boats this year, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

A flurry of crossings in the past two weeks have reignited tensions between Britain and France over how the issue should be tackled.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin has blamed Britain’s work market for enticing people to make the perilous crossing.

He told French media that NGOs “preventing the gendarmerie from working” were largely British with British citizens working on French soil.

He added: “Smugglers organising networks and making large sums of money… exploiting women and children, who are often fragile and from Africa and the Middle East, are often in Great Britain.”

The prime minister’s official spokesman said home secretary Priti Patel was seeking talks with her French counterpart about what more can be done.

“It is clear that we need to keep working with our French counterparts to do more to prevent these crossings, which are putting lives at risk,” the spokesman said.

“We continue to see France as a close ally of the UK. We do want to work constructively to resolve this issue.

“We are providing funding to the French to allow them to increase surveillance, to allow them to increase the police presence that is there to prevent these crossings taking place.

“Through that investment, we have seen stoppages increase and that is to be welcomed, but clearly with the level of crossings we are seeing per day, more needs to be done.”

On a grey morning in Dover, a toddler in a light blue hoodie looked around at border officials as he was carried in the arms of a woman, closely followed by an older child and a man.

Two children and a woman were seen walking up to the quayside, accompanied by a border official who appeared to pat one of the youngsters on the back and reassure them.

Another child was seen being carried in the arms of an immigration officer as they were taken off the boat, Hurricane.

About 20 miles along the coast at Dungeness, lifeboat crews were seen towing a jet-ski onto the beach.

The RNLI is believed to have been called to an incident at sea earlier on Monday morning, leading to suspicions that the jet-ski was used in a Channel crossing.

The coastguard confirmed that it had been co-ordinating a search-and-rescue response to an incident off Kent and had sent the coastguard helicopter a lifeboat.

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