Migrants are rescued from boat while trying to cross the Channel

Three migrants are rescued from a small boat while trying to cross the Channel on New Year’s Day as journeys continue despite Brexit and freezing weather

  • Migrants were rescued by a French customs ship and taken to Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • Attempted crossing came after Brexit transition period ended at 11pm last night
  • Deadline brought changes to asylum seeker policy but effect won’t be seen yet 

Three migrants have been rescued from a small boat while attempting to cross the freezing Channel to Britain on New Year’s day.

The asylum seekers – one suffering from hypothermia – were rescued by a French customs ship and taken to coastal town Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Their highly-dangerous failed crossing attempt came after Britain’s Brexit transition period ended at 11pm last night.

The deadline brought in minor changes to Britain’s asylum seeker policy – however they will have little practical impact until further agreements are reached with the EU. 

Three migrants (pictured arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer) have been rescued from a small boat while attempting to cross the freezing Channel to Britain on New Year’s day

The asylum seekers – one suffering from hypothermia – were rescued by a French customs ship (pictured disembarking) and taken to coastal town Boulogne-sur-Mer

The group were seen disembarking the Jacques Oudart Fourmentin this afternoon (pictured)

One person helped off the ship in a blanket before being wheeled away in a wheelchair (pictured)

An on-shore control centre was contacted by the migrants onboard a small vessel after they got into trouble in the treacherous water.

A coast guard patroller, French customs ship Jacques Oudart Fourmentin and martime gendarmerie vessel Scarpe all formed part of the rescue mission in the perilous weather conditions.

The group are all ‘safe and sound’ now thanks to the quick response of emergency services, a Government press release revealed.

The migrants were seen disembarking the Jacques Oudart Fourmentin this afternoon  – with one person helped off the ship in a blanket before being wheeled away in a wheelchair.

An on-shore control centre was contacted by the migrants (pictured arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer) onboard a small vessel after they got into trouble in the treacherous water

A coast guard patroller, French customs ship Jacques Oudart Fourmentin and martime gendarmerie vessel Scarpe all formed part of the rescue mission in the perilous weather conditions. Pictured: The group arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer

The group (pictured disembarking) are all ‘safe and sound’ now thanks to the quick response of emergency services, a Government press release revealed

The official release warned that ‘weather conditions are often difficult’ making the crossing ‘dangerous for human life’.

It is believed around 8,500 migrants have crossed from France this year.  

Earlier this month Britain introduced a new law – which came into force last night – meaning it will no longer accept asylum seeker claims at sea when intercepted by Border Force officials.

But it will not have a practical affect until an agreement is reached with France on how to handle asylum seekers once they are brought ashore to the UK – with Britain wanting to return people back across the Channel.

Britain left the Dublin III Regulation, which establishes which European nation is responsible for examining an asylum request, last night. 

This is usually the first ‘safe’ country an asylum seeker reaches. A full agreement to replace the deal has yet to be reached. 

An official release warned that ‘weather conditions are often difficult’ making the crossing ‘dangerous for human life’. Pictured: The group arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer this afternoon

Earlier this month Britain introduced a new law – which came into force last night – meaning it will no longer accept asylum seeker claims at sea when intercepted by Border Force officials. Pictured: One group member was wheeled away after he arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer this afternoon

The Government has said that if it doesn’t manage to reach a new agreement with the EU, it will negotiate bilateral agreements with individual countries.

Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this year agreed to pay France £28 million to double the number of officers patrolling beaches to stop migrants crossing the Channel.

The deal was signed during a virtual meeting between the Secretary of State and France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin with a pledge to make the route ‘completely unviable’ for people smuggling gangs.

But the law will not have a practical affect until an agreement is reached with France on how to handle asylum seekers once they are brought ashore to the UK – with Britain wanting to return people back across the Channel. Pictured: Migrants arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer this afternoon

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp told MailOnline yesterday: ‘France is a safe country with a well-functioning asylum system. 

‘People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making a dangerous and illegally-facilitated crossing.

‘We continue to work closely with the French following our agreement to take further action to tackle illegal migration, through increasing police patrols and surveillance.

‘Since September, monthly crossing numbers have reduced by around 90 per cent and crossings have reduced by around 60 per cent on average per calm weather day.’

It comes after six migrants were rescued by French authorities on Bank Holiday Monday after attempting to cross the Channel by small boat in perilous conditions.

Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this year agreed to pay France £28 million to double the number of officers patrolling beaches to stop migrants crossing the Channel. Pictured: Migrants arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer this afternoon

A French Navy Rhône metropolitan support vessel came to the aid of the first boat carrying two people after they called to say they were in difficulty.

On its way to Calais to drop them off, the ship discovered a second boat in trouble containing four migrants.

The Navy returned all migrants, including two suffering from mild hypothermia, to awaiting medics at the port shortly before 11.30am.

Meanwhile, a group successfully made the treacherous journey across the 21-mile Dover Strait on Boxing Day.

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