February 25, 2019

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Search launched after empty boat seen off Kent coast

Boats at sea

Image caption

The Border Force operation might be seen from St Margaret’s Bay

A search is beneath manner after an empty dinghy was noticed drifting off the coast of Kent.

An empty rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) was seen a few miles from Walmer and a variety of lifejackets have additionally been seen close to Shakespeare seaside in Dover, some 15 miles (24km) away.

Four lifeboats have been launched and the Coastguard helicopter scrambled.

The Home Office mentioned: “Border Force is currently dealing with an ongoing small boat incident off the Kent coast.”

  • Why are Iranians crossing the Channel in dinghies?
  • Who rescues migrants within the Channel?

HM Coastguard mentioned it’s aiding Border Force officers.

The RNLI mentioned an earlier report {that a} migrant had walked into Walmer lifeboat station was mistaken.

On 18 February, 34 folks – together with males, ladies and youngsters – had been dropped at shore at Dover from a small boat found within the Channel.

At least 91 folks have made the 21-mile journey between France and England in small boats this yr.

Analysis – Simon Jones, BBC South East

The Home Office is eager to level out that it is coping with what the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, declared to be a serious incident on the finish of final yr.

It says the variety of folks making an attempt the perilous journey throughout the Channel by boat has decreased from about 250 in December to 90 final month. On the 18 February nevertheless, a boat carrying 34 folks was intercepted off the coast of Dover.

With unseasonably gentle climate and calm seas, coastguards consider the variety of crossings could enhance once more, regardless of repeated warnings that migrants are risking their lives on this planet’s busiest transport lane.

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