UK Coast Guard Trains in Returning Migrants to the High Seas

The British Coast Guard has begun training employees to push back boats with migrants and refugees at sea to the French coast.

Footage shows how jet skis are practiced to stop rubber boats on the water so that they do not enter English territorial waters.

These so-called push-backs at sea are covered by the controversial plans of Interior Minister Patel, who wants to act more stringent after a record was broken last week in terms of the number of migrants reaching the UK coast.

In the week until September 10, 1959 people arrived in the United Kingdom through the Channel. The total stand for this year stands at 14,461 – almost twice as much as in the whole of 2020.

Coast Guard training must be completed by the end of the month so that the techniques can be applied this year. However, it is unclear how migrants are transferred back to the French Coast Guard after the push-back.

According to some sources, the British intends to inform French officers when a boat needs to be rescued in their territorial waters – so that the legal responsibility for migrants is back on the French side.

Criminalize asylum seekers

According to French politicians, the actions are contrary to international maritime law and could lead to dangerous situations at sea. French interior minister Gรฉrald Darmanin wrote on Twitter that Patels plans undermine the friendship between the countries. Darmanin also spoke of โ€œblackmailโ€ and โ€œpolitical grandspeech.โ€

Priti Patel, who has profiled itself strongly with the promise of greater control of British borders โ€” an important theme in Brexit โ€” is under political pressure to address the problem in the Channel.

Apart from push-backs, Patel has been working on a controversial bill to reform the current asylum system. It proposes, among other things, criminalise illegal asylum seekers, or to take advantage of Australia abroad.

In human rights organizations, Patels plans have led to fierce criticism. The fact that the number of migrants who cross the crossing is now rising so much may have to do with the future policy: they would like to reach the United Kingdom before such a law comes into force.