Navy backs out of migrant patrols and will not take charge of Channel dinghies crisis, report claims
- Royal Navy will no longer take charge of the Channel migrant crisis
- Navy ships will return operational control of rescuing migrants on January 31
- One source disapproved and questioned the message it sends to traffickers
- At least 20,000 Channel migrants have arrived in the UK this year
The Royal Navy will no longer take charge of the Channel migrant crisis, it was reported last night.
The Ministry of Defence has told ministers that Navy ships will return operational control of rescuing migrants and bringing them ashore to Border Force on January 31.
However, a source said: ‘The Navy would need to continue to be involved. We need to show illegal immigration is being taken seriously. What message would an ending of their involvement send to traffickers?’
It comes four months after the first Royal Navy ships were deployed to co-ordinate Border Force and Coastguard boats to rescue migrants.
But critics claim it failed to stop the influx. Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, slammed it as a ‘folly project’, telling The Daily Telegraph: ‘The Navy is being sucked into an operation they should never have been involved in.
‘This is not their terrain – this is Home Office, Coastguard, Border Force terrain.’
The Royal Navy will no longer take charge of the Channel crisis and instead will return to operational control of rescuing migrants and bringing them ashore to Border Force. Pictured: A Royal Navy vessel tows boats thought to be used by migrants as they are brought in to Dover
At least 20,000 Channel migrants have arrived in the UK this year – a milestone not reached until November in 2021
At least 20,000 Channel migrants have arrived this year – a milestone not reached until November in 2021.
Tony Smith, an ex-Border Force director general added: ‘I can’t see how the Navy was going to do much more than Border Force except that they have bigger vessels and more assets.
‘I would say Border Force should retain control, with the Navy giving them assistance.’
Yesterday, the Daily Mail revealed that more than 4,000 Albanians had successfully made the trip due to new tactics by people-trafficking gangs in the Balkans and weaknesses in Britain’s ‘modern slavery’ laws.
Ministers fear the surge will push this year’s number of small boat arrivals far beyond the record 28,500 seen in 2021.
Once they arrive in the UK, Albanians are claiming to have been trafficked or exploited, making it harder to remove them.
The Navy coordinates Border Force and Coastguard boats to rescue migrants and bring them ashore as part of its ‘command and control’ role.
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