British services said they were trying to reach England by dinghy. But they didn’t, putting the lives of 38 migrants at risk.
According to the Solidaires Douanes union, which represents the French coast guard, British services would have guaranteed that the rescue operation would begin. The boat ran aground on the French side of the English Channel. The union says the incident took place on January 2 and the vessel arrived in the British part of the English Channel at around 5:30pm French time.
The ship was tracked in the English Channel by the French Coast Guard boat Kermorvan. Shortly after entering British waters, the small vessel’s engine failed.
That same night, Kermorvan issued a statement reprimanding the British authorities for failing to save the dinghy after promising the French Coast Guard.
Remy Vandeblanc, a French coast guard involved in the rescue operation, told the newspaper GuardianThis is an unprecedented situation.
“When we started tracking them, they were in French waters and then we followed them. They were from the Border Force, the British coastguard. We spoke to them on the VHF radio and they said: OK, let’s rescue the people from the boat.
Rémi Vandeplanque, speaking on behalf of the union, said the boat was adrift in French waters and the migrants on board were trying to return to British waters. However, they struggled due to power outages, wind and GPS malfunctions in mobile phones.
“At 9pm (8pm in Lisbon), when they were rescued, the people on the boat were tired, scared and hypothermic. We gave him food and hot drinks. All survived. England didn’t push them back, but kept them afloat,” he said. He also said. According to British Ministry of Defense data, a small boat with 44 people arrived in the country on January 2. On the 3rd of January, there were no crossings in small boats.
According to Solidaires Douanes, “The British Coast Guard abandoned 38 people trying to reach England. A tragedy that was narrowly avoided.”
The union added that the French Coast Guard was informed by the Border Force Typhoon vessel that there was no space on board.
However, they said that they would ensure the safety of the boat and that another rescue boat was on its way.
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