34 migrants rescued from one boat in Channel (Reports)

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34 migrants rescued from one boat in Channel (Reports)
34 migrants rescued from one boat in Channel (Reports)

A record 34 migrants on one small boat have been picked up from the waters today.

They were sardined into a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) and brought into Dover.

Three of that group were arrested on immigration offences.

It happened at 6.30am and the overall group consisted of men, women and children.

They were medically assessed and, believed to be well, were transferred to immigration officials for interview.

Their nationalities have not yet been confirmed.

Usually there have been no more than 16 per vessel.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Today Border Force responded to an incident in the Channel involving a small boat containing 34 people.

“The group were brought to Dover and have been transferred to immigration officials for interview.”

Two Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel were used and intercepted the RHIB.

Those on board were transferred to one of the cutters and the CPV.

The Home Office says that the three were arrested by Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) officers on suspicion of immigration offences.

The spokesman added: “Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December we have tripled the number of cutters operating in the Channel, agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

“The number of individuals attempting to cross the Channel decreased from around 250 in December to around 90 in January, with roughly half of the January attempts being intercepted by partners in France before they could make it to British waters.”

First signs of this incident had come earlier this afternoon when the Home Office told of an “ongoing small boat incident.”

This case brings the total amount of attempted migrant crossings to Kent, usually by small craft, has added up to 44 and involved 379 people.

Landings in the UK and interceptions have also happened at Deal, Kingsdown, Folkestone and Romney Marsh.

The overall figure also includes those who were stopped in French waters and brought back to France.

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