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Coastguard picks up 25 migrants attempting to cross the English Channel

Nigel Farage hires fishing boat to patrol the English Channel and rescues 20 migrants including small children trying to get to Britain in tiny sinking dinghy

  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was on a chartered fishing boat in the Channel
  • He witnessed a group of migrants being escorted by a French vessel to the UK
  • The French vessel handed the migrants over to a UK coastguard vessel
  • Tweeting after returning to Dover, Mr Farage described it as ‘an invasion’  

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage spotted more than 20 migrants including small children attempting to cross the Channel in two tiny dinghies. 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the RNLI launched rescue vessels after one of the boats was taking on water. 

One of the migrant boats was escorted to UK waters by a French coastguard vessel. 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, pictured on board a fishing charter vessel in the English Channel this morning witnessed a group of 25 migrants attempting to make their way to Britain

The migrants were picked up by an RNLI lifeboat after their small-overcrowded inflatable began to take on water

The migrants were picked up by an RNLI lifeboat after their small-overcrowded inflatable began to take on water

The migrants were bailing out their boat as it made its way across the English Channel today

The migrants were bailing out their boat as it made its way across the English Channel today

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage travelled out to the middle of the English Channel to witness the migrants leaving France

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage travelled out to the middle of the English Channel to witness the migrants leaving France

Some 1,085 migrants have crossed the Channel on small boats since the start of the lockdown.  

It is believed that there could be seven vessels involved in the rescue operation.  

It is thought there could be up to seven vessels involved.

At 9am, around 13 refugees were pictured crammed on one dinghy alongside a Border Force vessel and a large French boat in the middle of the English Channel.

Another boat carrying some 22 people – including two children aged around seven – was also seen heading for Kent.

One migrant was seen using a red bucket to clear water that the boat had taken on.

One group of migrants were escorted by a French vessel before being handed over to UK authorities

One group of migrants were escorted by a French vessel before being handed over to UK authorities 

One of the vessels had several women and children on board as they crossed the Channel

One of the vessels had several women and children on board as they crossed the Channel 

One of the migrant boats was severely overloaded as it made its way across the Channel

One of the migrant boats was severely overloaded as it made its way across the Channel

One of the men let slip a plastic container which had been used to bail out the boat

One of the men let slip a plastic container which had been used to bail out the boat 

The Coastguard launched its fixed-wing aircraft to work alongside the Border Force vessels Hunter and Speedwell, plus the Dover lifeboat.

The crossings come after eight migrants made it to Britain on one boat on Monday – following a weekend where 125 made the perilous trip over the Dover Strait shipping lane.

At least 1,456 migrants are known to have reached the UK this year – rapidly approaching the 1,850 figure for the whole of 2019.

And of that tally, a staggering 1,085 have been brought in during lockdown.

A Coastguard spokesman said: ‘Her Majesty’s Coastguard has coordinated search and rescue responses to a number of incidents off Kent today, working with Border Force.

‘We sent the Dover RNLI lifeboat, Border Force vessels Hunter and Speedwell and the HM Coastguard fixed-wing aircraft. We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.

‘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 migrants waved at the chartered fishing vessel carrying Mr Farage

The migrants waved at the chartered fishing vessel carrying Mr Farage

Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley estimates there are up to 200 child migrants living in squalor in settlements across Calais – most of them unaccompanied.

There are currently around 500 people in one camp in Calais, while 240 are spread out across three smaller sites. At a fifth camp, there are around 30.

Ms Moseley said the youngest unaccompanied child she has met in a camp is a 10-year-old Afghan boy. She has also met a 13-year-old girl without any parents.

She said: ‘That’s a rough figure. At any point, around 20 per cent of the refugees are under 18. A lot of them come from Sudan, where they could be recruited as soldiers.

‘And some are from Afghanistan. They might have lost their parents and are trying to join other people in the UK.

‘Coronavirus has made the conditions even worse for them so they are even more desperate to get to the UK. These people have nothing to lose.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The government takes the welfare of unaccompanied children very seriously and provides funding to local authorities, including Kent, as a contribution to the cost of supporting unaccompanied children and those who leave care.

‘This funding was significantly increased in May 2019.’

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