A record 90 migrants were intercepted by UK authorities in a surge of attempts to cross the busy English Channel on Thursday.
A huge search and rescue operation involving the coastguard helicopter gripped the Kent coast today as authorities rescued migrants aboard six inflatable boats.
Today’s surge of migrants intercepted is thought to be the most ever in a single day, despite repeated warnings about the dangers of making the trip in a small boat.
Women and children were seen being treated by emergency services at Port of Dover after crossing the busy shipping lanes in near-freezing conditions.
In total, 90 migrants – including up to 15 children – were intercepted by UK authorities on Thursday, the Home Office confirmed.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said a “fresh approach” is needed and migrants should be returned to France regardless of where they are intercepted.
In one incident, at around 2.15am, a Border Force vessel intercepted an inflatable rib boat carrying five men.
The males presented themselves as Senegalese, Malian and Guinean nationals.
In the second incident, also at around 2.15am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a small boat carrying a group of 21 males who presented themselves as Syrian, Yemeni and Egyptian nationals.
In the third incident, at around 7.40am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB which was carrying a group of 12 males and females who presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
In the fourth incident, at around 7.40am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB which was carrying 16 men who presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
In the fifth incident, at around 8.40am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB which was carrying a group of 12 people. Their nationalities are yet to be established.
In the sixth incident, at around 10.20am, an RNLI vessel intercepted a RHIB which was carrying a group of 14 people – 12 men and two woman – who presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
In the seventh incident, at around 11.20am, Kent Police officers detained five suspected illegal migrants in Dover town centre.
In the eighth incident, at around 09.20am, Border Force officers detained a group of five people near Shakespeare Beach who presented themselves as Iraqi and Yemini nationals.
More migrant crossing attempts were responded to by French authorities with a number of people detained.
Temperatures at the Port of Dover this morning were as low as 2C.