There has been speculation and according to Dan O’Mahoney, the man whose task it is to end illegal travel across the English Channel, the Home Office is considering using nets to stop the propellers of boats that carry migrants in order to prevent them from dangerously sailing through the Strait of Dover in small rubber dinghies.
When revealing the proposed plan Mr O’Mahoney confirmed it was the same method that the Royal Navy were testing, using nets to clog ship propellers, and thanks to this we can then safely switch off the engine and take the migrants on board our ship.
This is only one of the ideas which ministers and government officials are considering, along with the use of water cannons to re-direct boats using waves, creating asylum centres on discarded ferries, or sending migrants to remote islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The plan to move migrants to some of the world’s most isolated islands was protested by human rights groups after the story was leaked to the media.
The British government has registered over 7,000 illegal vessels so far this year, the numbers having quadrupled. However the number of asylum applications decreased from April to June compared to the first quarter. Dan O’Mahoney, who was appointed to his new position by Priti Patel in August, states that approximately 300 boats arrive in Great Britain everyday. “We are very close to being able to launch a safe return tactic, where we will strike a boat with migrants, take them on board and then return them to France”.
A new four-phase plan to tackle illegal migration was also revealed by O’Mahoney where the British government plans to use social networks, where it will discourage migrants from Africa and the Middle East from travelling to Europe. It also plans to reduce the number of migrants who choose the dangerous route across the English Channel. “We are saying that rather than paying a huge sum to intermediaries to take you through safe countries across Europe, apply for asylum in the first safe country you come to. Don’t risk your life on an incredibly dangerous path”.
The new strategy will also envisage physically preventing entry into the UK, which will likely involve the use of networks, and reforming the British asylum system.
Priti Patel also included in a recent speech the fact that the current system is ‘fundamentally broken’ and went on to say that she was willing to face unpopularity on ‘Twitter’ to reduce the number of asylum applications and therefore promised new laws.
The Labour Party voiced its opposition to the new plans with shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds saying “Asylum centres thousands of miles away, prison ships, water cannons and now nets. The Tory’s proposals are disproportionate and endanger human lives”.