RNLI Issues Statement About Rescuing Migrants In The Channel
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has issued a statement about its life-saving work picking up migrants in the Channel, following a news article in the Daily Mail regarding the rescue of migrants in French waters who ran into trouble while crossing.
The statement made it clear that the charity - which has been saving lives since 1824 - is “incredibly proud of the humanitarian work our volunteer lifeboat crews do to rescue vulnerable people in distress”.
It went on to explain that the lifeboats work under international maritime law, which means it is allowed - and, in fact, obligated - to move into other territories if it’s for search and rescue purposes.
The statement concluded: “Where we believe there is a risk to life at sea, we will always launch. We are not border control and, once a rescue is complete, we hand over responsibility for casualties to UK Border Force and/or the police.”
It comes as the government publishes its nationality and borders bill, which has just had its first reading in the House of Commons. Under Clause 38 of the proposed legislation, the maximum sentence for assisting unlawful immigration has been increased from 14 years to life imprisonment.
The bill will also see the words “for gain” removed from the 1971 Immigratin Act, which previously ensured that only paid people smugglers would be prosecuted.
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