Migrants entering UK waters across the Channel have dinghies ‘disabled by nets’

Migrants entering UK waters across the Channel will have their dinghies “disabled by nets” before being sent back to France.

Dan O’Mahoney, the new Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, outlined his four-step plan to crack down on illegal crossings.

The ex-marine is said to have confirmed that the UK authorities were set to deploy a ‘safe return tactic’.

The move comes after it emerged that more than 7,100 migrants have reached the UK this year alone.

Migrants entering UK waters across the Channel will have their dinghies “disabled by nets” before being sent back to France. Pictured: A group of people brought to Dover, Kent, by Border Force in the English Channel on Friday

The four-step plan to crack down on illegal crossings

  • Attempt to stop the flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East to northern France;
  • Reduce the number of people leaving the region for the UK, including by helping to dismantle camps;
  • Physically prevent entry into the UK;
  • Reform the country’s asylum system to reduce Britain’s ‘pull factor’.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr O’Mahoney said staff would render migrant boats inoperable before using British vessels to ferry the occupants back to France.

The method is similar to that experimented with by the Royal Navy to clog boat propellers in order to force an immediate shutdown.

Mr O’Mahoney, whom Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed in August, said: “We are exploring tactics to carry out safe interventions, in order to return migrants to France…

“We are definitely very, very close to being able to operationalize a safe return tactic where we safely intervene on a migrant vessel, embark migrants on our vessel and then bring them back to France.”

He added that this tactic was just one of many “which we could deploy over the next few months”.

The number of clandestine arrivals is currently exceeding 300 a day – the highest number on record – after a sharp drop in air and rail travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the implementation of the new method will probably be delayed because France is currently refusing to take back migrants.

Mr O’Mahoney also told the publication that the government was using social media campaigns and officials posted abroad to urge potential migrants from Africa and the Middle East to seek asylum. in the first safe country they arrive in.

It is hoped this will deter them from risking their lives on an ‘incredibly dangerous journey’ through the world’s busiest shipping lane to illegally reach the UK.

Mr O’Mahoney insisted his team’s first priority is always to save the lives of those put in danger trying to cross.

But added that this goal was being closely followed with a focus on securing the UK border and building public confidence in operations.

Dan O'Mahoney, the new Clandestine <a class=Channel Threat Commander, was hired by Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed in August” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Dan O’Mahoney, the new Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, was hired by Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed in August

The number of clandestine arrivals is currently exceeding 300 a day - the highest number on record - after a sharp drop in air and rail travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Pictured: Dinghies, believed to have been used by migrants, stored in a Port Authority yard in Dover

The number of clandestine arrivals is currently exceeding 300 a day – the highest number on record – after a sharp drop in air and rail travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Dinghies, believed to have been used by migrants, stored in a Port Authority yard in Dover

The interview comes just days after proposals being drawn up by the Home Office suggested migrants trying to cross the English Channel could be detained on disused ferries.

Government sources had insisted the ideas – which leaked last week – were only part of a brainstorming session.

But a source told The Sun: ‘There is a real determination to tackle this issue and things are moving forward now.’ The ferry plan is activated. That happens.

Officials have been asked to start talks about buying two unused boats to turn them into treatment centers and stay off Portsmouth, sources said.

Some £6million could buy the Home Office a 40-year-old ferry that can accommodate 1,400 asylum seekers, The Times reported.

Permission to accommodate migrants on ferries has not been granted, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

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