08 September 2021

English Channel crossings continue on sunny day in Dover

08 September 2021

As Boris Johnson assured MPs that the UK is using “every possible tactic” to put a stop to migrant crossings, dozens more people were arriving in Dover after making the perilous voyage.

A woman gently carrying a baby wrapped in a blanket was helped ashore by a Border Force officer, while other children old enough to walk were led up to the Kent quayside.

With scores of people succeeding in reaching the UK from France on Monday and Tuesday, more boats set off from the continent on Wednesday morning.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to meet her French counterpart to discuss how to tackle the crisis.

It has become a familiar sight to locals in the key trade port: Border Force patrol boats coming and going again and again after rescuing men, women and children from rubber dinghies out at sea.

On a hot and sunny Wednesday, dozens of people were seen arriving in Dover aboard two Border Force vessels: new catamaran Hurricane and patrol boat Hunter.

A Border Force officer helps a woman with a young child brought in to Dover, Kent (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Wrapped in blankets and wearing face masks, many of those aboard had to wait patiently on board before they were finally able to disembark.

Around 20 people sat on Hunter’s prow, many wearing blue Yamaha lifejackets as they leant against the sides as they waited in the 23C heat.

A short distance away, a Border Force officer inspected a black dinghy believed to have been used to cross to the UK earlier on Wednesday.

At around 15ft long, the dinghy would dwarf many of those used to cross the English Channel in previous years, but such boats have become increasingly common in 2021.

A Border Force officer looks over Ribs used by groups of people thought to be migrants after they were brought in to Dover (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

A few feet away, several more boats of similar sizes floated beneath the gangway, no doubt remnants of previous trips across the Dover Strait.

Further down the coast, RNLI boats have been active in the Channel – signalling another busy day for the volunteers.

This has included the team at Eastbourne, who reportedly brought in dozens of people including an 18-month-old baby and 15 other children.

With the recent calm weather seeing large numbers of people risking the dangerous journey, the Dungeness lifeboat has also been picking up migrants at sea and bringing them ashore.

One of them – a 17-year-old from Eritrea – said he was happy to be in the UK after stepping on to the beach on Tuesday.

Others knelt down as they reached the shingle, raising their arms in apparent prayer after arriving in Britain following their dangerous voyage.

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