20 asylum seekers make perilous cross-Channel trip

More migrants arrive in UK: 20 asylum seekers make perilous cross-Channel trip in inflatable dinghy a day after 201 crossed

  • Around 20 migrants were lifted out of the English Channel today by the RNLI 

Migrants continued to cross the English Channel today as good weather continued with border force officials guiding another small boat to the safety of the shore. 

A group of around 20 asylum seekers are thought to have been brought into the harbour at Dover, Kent before 9am this morning after making the perilous journey across the 21-mile Dover Straits in an inflatable dinghy.

The asylum seekers could be seen dressed in orange lifejackets as RNLI officials escorted them off the vessel amid chilly conditions in the Channel.

The latest rescue comes on the same day the government intends to dock a £20,000-a-day migrant barge housing 500 asylum seekers in the South West of England despite fierce local opposition. 

More migrants are expected to arrive later today as the conditions in the Channel remain relatively calm.

A group of around 20 asylum seekers are thought to have been brought into the harbour at Dover today

The group were spotted by the RNLI who sped towards them to offer assistance 

They were then taken onboard and taken back to shore to be processed

It comes after 201 made the crossing on Tuesday in six incidents, according to official figures from the Home Office.

The latest crossings are the first to reach the UK in almost a week, following severe gales in the Channel with the onset of Storm Mathis last Thursday (March 30), which saw the Met Office issue a yellow wind warning for coastal areas of southern England.

READ MORE: Dozens of migrants cross Channel on dinghies as RNLI lifeboat crews are scrambled to save group off the coast

According to official Government figures, just 840 migrants made the treacherous journey in 21 boats in March – an average of 40 people per vessel – compared to 1,770 in February and 1,180 in January.

This brings the total number of asylum seekers who have made the crossing so far in 2023 to 3,991 in 95 boats – an average of 42 people in each inflatable.

The busiest day this year came on January 22 when 442 people reached British soil in a 24-hour period.

Last year saw a record 45,728 migrants cross the Channel – significantly more than 2021’s total of 28,526.

But officials have warned that as many as 80,000 migrants could enter the UK on small boats this year.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.

‘Our priority is to stop this illegal trade, and our Small Boats Operational Command is working alongside our French partners and other agencies to disrupt the people smugglers.

‘The government has gone further by introducing legislation which will ensure that those people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.’

The Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge is a 222 bedroom, three-storey vessel which can house up to 506 people

The barge has a host of communal areas for socialising and dining 

It comes with a fully equipped games room where migrants will be able to socialise 

Meanwhile the mayor of the port town where a giant barge housing 500 asylum seekers will be docked today compared it to having a ‘housing estate plonked on them at a moment’s notice’.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman plans to ease Britain’s migrant crisis by putting them in a three-deck ship in Portland Port, at the heart of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.

But Portland mayor Pete Roper has hit out at the government for not consulting local residents or providing any additional support for the island.

The Bibby Stockholm vessel, which will reportedly cost taxpayers more than £20,000 a day to run, could accommodate 506 people in its 222 en-suite bedrooms.

The type of barge would normally be used for offshore construction projects. 


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