English Border Force running ferry service for illegals
HM Cutter Seeker — one of the largest in the UK Border Force's fleet — races through the English Channel having plucked 21 migrants from their dinghy.
Hours later its detachable inflatable boat takes eight more migrants to Dover after intercepting them in the water.
Within minutes, Seeker's sister vessel Speedwell, with at least six migrants on board, is spotted tugging a white dinghy back to British shores.
In just one 24-hour period last week, an extraordinary farce was captured unfolding on Britain's sea border as this apparently formidable patrol appeared powerless to prevent an escalating human catastrophe.
The people picked up by the Border Force — refugees and economic migrants — faced a perilous journey across the Channel in the dead of night.
Many of them would have launched from the new 'Jungle' camp in the Dunes area of Calais, meeting brutal people-smugglers on darkened beaches between Calais and Les Hemmes de Marck.
These professional smugglers reportedly charge up to £5,000 for a seat on an inflatable Zodiac boat, or up to £800 for a kayak.
Other smugglers have charged up to £11,000 for a place on a boat.
This summer there have been dozens of vessels launching at once.
On just one day last month, June 3, 166 migrants made the crossing aboard eight vessels — smashing the previous total of 145 on one day the previous month.
After several days of launches, the boats run out and the vessels become more desperate — two surfboards tied together and, last week, an inflatable rubber ring.
There are no official figures for the number of migrants who lose their lives in the Channel.
Last Thursday morning, on the hottest day of the year, the co-ordinated land, air and sea operation could have been mistaken for the backdrop to a war movie.
In addition to the two Border Force cutters, a French Navy warship patrolled the coast of Calais. Police vans stood guard on the Kent hills.
The patrol operation starts long before dawn. By 3am last Thursday morning the drone hovered over the Channel and at 7am the cutters, French patrol boat and police vans were in place.
By 7.30am the first migrants had already landed. Eight arrived on the sandy shores of Kingsdown, east of Dover, having made the journey across the Channel overnight.
They headed to nearby woods before being found by police.
Thirty minutes after this landing, the Border Force intercepted a white inflatable dinghy carrying 13 Syrian and Iraqi nationals, including one woman.
Just two hours later, at 9.20am, 13 male migrants and two women landed at Abbot's Cliff beach between Folkestone and Dover.
These daily landings on the south coast have now become so commonplace that the total number of migrants arriving on illegal vessels so far this year stands at 2,345 — far eclipsing the entire 2019 total of 1,890. In 2018, that figure was just 297.