Border Force set for surge of migrants as over 600 cross Channel

The Border Force catamaran Typhoon dropped the first group of 50 Channel migrants at Dover harbour

The Border Force catamaran Typhoon dropped the first group of 50 Channel migrants at Dover harbour

GB News
Mark White

By Mark White


Published: 21/08/2023

- 14:37

Updated: 22/08/2023

- 14:53

Red Alert as high numbers of small boats make journey

Six-hundred and sixty one migrants crossed the English Channel yesterday, at the start of a week of "Red Days" for Border Force, the internal Red Alert mechanism that predicts high numbers of small boat arrivals.

After poor weather in the Channel in recent weeks, forecasters are predicting close to ideal conditions for the rest of the week.


In total 15 small boats made it to UK waters, and 661 migrants transferred to several Border Force vessels and lifeboats.

Maritime sources have confirmed that one boat, carrying around 50 Channel migrants, made it to the East Sussex coast and entered the River Rother, at the town of Rye.

The Typhoon arrives at Dover Harbour

After arriving the migrants were moved to a processing centre at Manston in Kent

GB News

Last Wednesday, Border Force senior management put staff on notice of a "Red Day", when a brief improvement in the weather led to 444 Channel migrants crossing in eight small boats that day.

Yesterday, people smuggling gangs pushed the first boats off from French beaches in the early hours.

The Border Force catamaran Typhoon dropped the first group of 50 Channel migrants at Dover around 3am.

The vessel was called to reports of a second small boat sighting shortly afterwards, and picked up another 47 migrants.

Throughout the morning, lifeboats from Dover, Dungeness, Littlestone and Hastings were called out to assist Border Force vessels as they responded to multiple reports of small boats crossing into UK waters.

GB News filmed at Dungeness as the local lifeboat dropped a group of more than 30 people on the beach there.

Dinghy migrants English ChannelThe rapid increase in small boat arrivals is just the latest setback to the Government’s plans to tackle the Channel migrant crisisPA

They were checked over by Border Force personnel and put on a bus for the main migrant processing centre at Manston in Kent.

The Home Office has been making contingency plans for an expected run of good weather, which could see thousands of migrants arrive in a single week.

In August last year, there were chaotic scenes at Manston, as staff there were overwhelmed by the numbers arriving.

The base is meant to hold migrants for a maximum of 48 hours, before transferring them out to other accommodation.

Suella BravermanSuella Braverman is under firePA

But last August, thousands of migrants were forced to stay at the base for a number of weeks, as staff dealt with the bottleneck.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has ordered marquees, which will be able to house up to 2,000 people while they wait for other accommodation to become available.

A senior maritime expert told GB News that conditions in the English Channel are likely to continue improving this week, with the prospect of flat-calm conditions on Wednesday and Thursday.

Including yesterday's arrivals, more than 18,600 people have crossed the Channel since the beginning of the year.

One source said it was likely the figure could easily top 20,000 by the end of the week.

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