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UK 'practice turning around migrant dinghies with jet skis'

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1]

Border Force officials have been practicing turning around dinghies in the English Channel, pictures suggest.

Human rights group Channel Rescue carry out patrols along the coast and say they captured jet skis trying to divert inflatable boats filled with people on Monday.

'We are currently witnessing what looks like pushback drills by Border Force jet skis in the Channel,' they wrote.

'We are not 100% sure but two jet skis appear to be doing circling maneuvers around dinghies with Border Force vessels full of people looking on.'

They claimed people were sat on the dinghy's tubing, copying how boats are packed with migrants during the dangerous crossings.

The group then claimed to see a jet ski bump the rear of the dinghy and turn it around.

LIVE UPDATE: We're currently witnessing what looks like pushback drills by Border Force jet skis in the Channel. We're not 100% sure but two jet skis appear to be doing circling manoeuvres around dinghies with Border Force vessels full of people looking on. We’re 👀 @ukhomeoffice pic.twitter.com/c2kgciTLMp

— Channel Rescue (@ChannelRescue) September 13, 2021

The suspected exercise was spotted off the coast of Kingsdown, near Deal, at midday.

It comes only days after Priti Patel reportedly ordered officials to rewrite maritime laws to allow the Border Force to intercept boats as they enter British waters.

When contacted by Metro.co.uk, the Home Office did not deny these were 'pushback drills'.

A spokesperson commented: 'We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings, that is why we continue to explore all options available to bring these numbers down.

'Our primary focus is on preventing people from entering the Channel, tackling the criminal gangs responsible and protecting lives.  

'As part of our ongoing operational response, we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options for stopping small boats.

'All operational procedures used at sea comply and are delivered in accordance with domestic and international law.'

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants already blasted the move as 'hugely dangerous' and added it could actively put people's lives at risk.

It called for safe routes to end dangerous crossings and protect lives, not 'violent pushbacks.'

In a separate Twitter thread, Channel Rescue also detailed why pushbacks are 'cruel, inhumane and illegal'.

The organisation said: 'As soon as someone reaches an EU member state they're entitled to apply for asylum.

'Pushbacks are a breach of Convention Relating to Status of Refugees and Euro Convention on Human Rights.

'They undermine people's right to due process before a decision to expel them is taken.'

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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