235 Migrants from the English Channel arrested in 17 ships in one day
A total of 235 migrants were intercepted while crossing the Channel on Thursday, the Interior Ministry confirmed - a record for a single day.
Among them, a group of 15 people, including children and a very pregnant woman, landed on a beach in Kent.
A total of 17 ships were apprehended by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Border Force units.
At least 130 people on 13 ships were brought to the UK on Friday, the Home Office said.
At approximately 20:20 p.m. BST, he said the Border Force continued to face "a number of ongoing incidents".
BBC reporter Simon Jones said a kayak and other inflatable boats had also been reported heading for the Kent coast.
Including Thursday's total, 3 people have crossed the English Channel on more than 948 boats so far this year.
The Home Office was unable to provide a breakdown by gender or nationality of those intercepted on Thursday.
Immigration and Courts Minister Chris Philp said he shared "the public's anger and frustration at the appalling number of crossings" on Thursday.
To the stage
By Simon Jones, BBC News
We set sail at 04:00 a.m. BST - and shortly after sunrise on Friday the eagle-eyed skipper of our fishing boat spotted something on the horizon.
A boat carrying 17 people is driving towards us. They told us that they were from Iraq and that there was a pregnant woman on board, as well as several children. They were trying to reach Kent.
The Coast Guard asked us to follow them while the Border Force was busy dealing with other boats and kayaks in the Channel.
But after an hour, with the White Cliffs in sight, there was a problem - their engine broke down.
Another Border Force boat was already on its way to pick them up and take them to Dover. By walking on British soil, they had achieved their goal.
One of the ships was carrying 26 people.
In one incident, border forces officers apprehended 15 migrants who disembarked at Dungeness beach on Thursday.
Eyewitness Susan Pilcher told the BBC she saw three family groups - including a woman who appeared to be very pregnant - as well as two single men.
French authorities said they also rescued migrants from several kayaks in their own waters as they made their way to the UK.
A helicopter was used in the response which saw at least 23 people intercepted and brought back to France.
Thursday's figure breaks a record set just a week ago, when 202 people passed each other in 24 hours .
Mr Philp said: “The crossings are totally unacceptable and unnecessary because France is a safe country.
“We are working closely with France and I will be in Paris early next week to seek to agree stronger measures with them, including interceptions and returns.
“This situation just cannot continue. "
He said the only option was to make the route “completely unsustainable” to deter people from attempting it.
Regarding reports that the Navy could be used to patrol the Channel, Chancellor Rishi Sunak told Sky News: “I wouldn't want to speculate on what measures will be put in place.
“It is important that we work closely with our French allies on this situation.
"Obviously France is a safe country for migrants, we all want to see these passages reduced and, while awaiting the results of these conversations [in France], we can decide on the best measures to take."
Channel crossings by migrants in small boats
Number of people arriving in the UK each month since July 2019
An investigation has been launched on reasons for the sharp increase in crossings of the Channel by migrants.
Among the areas that the Home Affairs Committee will examine:
- The role of criminal gangs in railway crossings
- The responses of the British and French authorities to combat illegal migration and support legal pathways to asylum
- The conditions experienced by those gathered in the north of France seeking to enter the UK and the risks they face
- Treatment of migrants by UK authorities on arrival, in particular that of unaccompanied children
This article appeared first on: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-53678928?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/world&link_location=live-reporting-story