Patrick Christys: Allegation the coastguard are responsible for migrant deaths is ‘absolute madness’

Patrick RNLI Mono
Patrick Christys

By Patrick Christys

Published: 22/12/2021

- 09:49

Updated: 22/12/2021

- 10:12

The utter lunacy of trying to claim our coastguard is responsible for the deaths of people in the Channel makes me angry.

The coast guard is facing a manslaughter lawsuit for allegedly failing to help the 27 people who died in the Channel when their dinghy sank.

This is absolute madness. The allegation is that they didn’t respond to emergency calls made by the people on that boat and that they are now responsible for their deaths.

I’ve been deeply critical of our coast guard, the RNLI and indeed border force, for, in my view, aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

However, when a French charity called Utopia 56 pipes up and tries to prosecute members of our coastguard for manslaughter, I have to put my foot down.

Let’s have it right, the only reason that these people get in flimsy little boats and set sail for the UK is because they know that the coastguard will come and pick them up when they deliberately turn their motors off and call for help.

And, on this particular day that 27 people sadly died, I think it’s fair to say the only reason they didn’t receive help from the coast guard is because they were already busy dealing with other boats.

A statement from our coastguard reads: “On 24 November, Her Majesty's Coastguard received over 90 alerts from the English Channel area including 999 emergency calls.

“Every call was answered, assessed and acted upon, including the deployment of search and rescue resources where appropriate. We always have and always will respond to anyone in distress, as we did that day.”

And then, of course, there’s the small matter of the fact that this boat appears to have been in French waters anyway.

What this lawsuit it is nothing more than a cynical attempt by a migrant charity to try to ensure that this country’s coastguard, border force and emergency services devote their entire energy towards ensuring that every single boat that leaves Calais is picked up and brought to the UK, so that the people on that boat can spend the rest of their lives here.

That’s what this is - it’s an attempt to make illegal immigration easier.

If anything, this charity is exploiting the deaths of 27 people, some of them women, some of them very young children, to further its own aims.

And it completely ignores the main issue. The utter lunacy of trying to claim that our coastguard is responsible for the deaths of people in the Channel actually makes me quite angry.

If they want to bring a lawsuit against people, why don’t they bring a lawsuit against the people smugglers who are becoming millionaires off the back of facilitating people making a dangerous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world?

Why don’t they sue the manufacturers of the boat that sank? It was clearly faulty goods.

Why don’t they go after the French police on the beaches who have been pictures waving these people through as they set sail?

I’m very concerned about what happens now as a result of this lawsuit.

Hopefully it’s just thrown out and we never hear of it again, but if it isn’t, what this could do is create a situation where our coastguard is now so petrified of any one of these migrant boats sinking and any one of those people dying that it devotes its entire energy towards that. That means that when someone gets into difficulty off the coast of Kent, and they call the coastguard, and the coastguard gets a call at the same time from a bunch of people in a dinghy, they will always go to the people in the dinghy.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t - I’m just saying it would absolutely set their priorities.

I’m also very worried that the deaths of these migrants are going to be pinned on some poor bloke we’ve never heard of who happened to be manning the phones on that day at the specific time that this boat sank.

That’s how these things work.

I can see it now. Lawsuit gets filed, the coastguard launches an internal investigation, they find an individual who they can pin it on and it becomes a criminal lawsuit against a single person, as opposed to a lawsuit against the coastguard as a whole.

Mark my words, if this looks like it’ll go to court, that’s what will happen. You can take that to the bank. And that’s wrong.

We cannot simultaneously have a situation whereby the coast guard is criticised for essentially being an Uber service for illegal immigrants, and then at the same time be negligent and responsible for their deaths when a dinghy sinks and people sadly die.

Perhaps, instead of taking our coastguard to court and trying to turn some individuals into pseudo-murderers, this charity could devote its time, energy and resources into telling these people in Calais not to get in a shoddy boat and sail out into one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world in the middle of winter.

You may like