UK to deploy warship to English Channel to tackle illegal migration : Defense Secretary

LONDON, Jan 4: The UK Royal Navy’s HMS Mersey patrol vessel will be deployed to the Strait of Dover to support the authorities in responding to illegal migrants arriving in the United Kingdom from France across the English Channel, UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Friday.
“I can confirm that HMS Mersey will deploy to the Dover Straits to assist the UK Border Force and French authorities with their response to migrant crossings,” Williamson said in a statement. The HMS Mersey crew members had been able to immediately divert from their duties to help prevent migrants from making the perilous journey across the English Channel, the defense secretary noted.
Williamson’s statement followed the appeal for support in tackling the English Channel migrant crisis by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Earlier this week, Javid has agreed with his French counterpart Christophe Castaner on joint action to tackle illegal migration in the area.
Dozens of people annually cross into the United Kingdom from France’s Calais region, where migrants have set up makeshift camps, via the English Channel.
According to UK media, only since November, 239 people have attempted to cross the channel by boat into the United Kingdom. Notably, a lot of people drown during the perilous journey. UK media have reported that traffickers leave migrants on flimsy dinghies halfway across the English Channel and order them to wait for UK border guards to rescue them.
Moreover, some migrants reportedly pay up to 10,000 pounds ($13,000) to be smuggled into the United Kingdom. (AGENCIES)