‘We saw the jet skis either side and at the rear of the boat and then collide with the vessel to actually spin it around. It looked dangerous,’ says director of Channel Rescue
Photographs and video footage taken by charity Channel Rescue on Monday morning shows large Border Force vessels with what appears to be three jet skis trying to turn around rubber boats.
9 September 2021: updated: Guardian: Patel’s plans to send migrant boats back to France ‘dead in water’, union says
Immigration workers’ union says maritime law would have to be rewritten, and France has rejected proposals.
Priti Patel’s plans to send back small boats carrying migrants in the Channel are already “dead in the water”, an immigration workers’ union has said.
Border Force staff are being trained to employ “turn-around” tactics at sea under plans developed for two years, a statement from the Home Office said overnight.
But Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the Immigration Services Union (ISU) said she would be surprised if the policy, announced as criticism of the government’s social care reforms was mounting, was used “even once”.
The proposals, which would require maritime law to be rewritten, have already been rejected by the French government.
Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to allow the UK Border Force to be able to turn back boats carrying migrants across the English Channel.
A government source told the BBC if used, the tactic would only happen in “very certain, narrow circumstances”.
The details are still to be finalised – but there are questions over whether it would break international maritime law.
France is likely to oppose any such move, saying “safeguarding human lives at sea takes priority”.
Ms Patel met her French counterpart, interior minister Gérald Darmanin, on Wednesday for talks on the migrant crisis – but the two sides failed to agree any new measures.
After the meeting, it was reported by some newspapers that the government was considering allowing Border Force officials to turn away boats.
A senior government source told the BBC although the government is agreed on the potential idea, the operational details are still to be finalised.
And they said the tactic would only be used in “very certain, narrow circumstances”.
But France believes the idea is dangerous and flouts international maritime law. Under the law, people at risk of losing their lives at sea must be rescued.
So far this week, more than 1,500 migrants have crossed the English Channel by boat.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58495948