Migrant stabbed on small boat crossing Channel

A Large Group Of Migrants Are Seen Heading Towards The Uk.04/03/24
A Large Group Of Migrants Are Seen Heading Towards The Uk.04/03/24

A migrant has been stabbed and injured on a small boat crossing the Channel.

Two Border Force vessels and two lifeboats attended the incident just before lunchtime on Wednesday after they received an alert.

The dinghy was one of eight small boats to reach UK waters on one of the busiest days of Channel crossings so far this year.

It is understood the injured migrant was transferred from a lifeboat to Dover harbour, before an ambulance took the migrant to hospital.

Police officers were seen on the quayside checking around 60 other migrants from the boat as they disembarked at Dover. They were taken to the nearby Border Force migrant processing facility for further checks.

A Home Office source said that Kent police were investigating the incident and had taken the lead on the case.

Record arrivals for single day

The migrant was one of more than 400 who are believed to have reached the UK in the eight boats, numbers that are on a par with the previous biggest arrivals in a single day of 401 at the beginning of March.

HM Coastguard confirmed it had attended the incident. A spokesman said: “HM Coastguard is coordinating the response to reports of a small boat crossing the English Channel this morning (20 March). RNLI lifeboats and Border Force vessels have been sent.”

A spokesman for Kent Police said: “At 12.52pm on Wednesday 20 March, Kent Police received a report of a man with injuries consistent with stab wounds, following the arrival of a small boat at Dover Western Docks.

“The man has been taken to hospital with injuries which are not described as life-threatening and officers are carrying out enquiries to establish the full circumstances, including where, when and how the injuries were sustained.”

Similar numbers to last year

It comes after dozens of migrants were intercepted by a Border Force vessel and escorted into Dover, Kent shortly after 8am on Wednesday morning. The mostly male group, wearing orange life jackets, could be seen disembarking the catamaran amid foggy conditions.

A total of 1,213 asylum seekers have crossed the Channel in 25 boats so far this month, according to official government figures. This brings the running total for 2024 to 3,468 in 73 dinghies – an average of 48 people crammed into each vessel.

This is similar to the numbers at this point last year. In 2023, 29,437 migrants made the treacherous crossing – significantly lower than 2022 when 45,755 people reached the UK.