RNLI pick up migrants off Thanet coast – multi-agency search for one person in water ongoing

Ramsgate RNLI all-weather boat Photo Mark Stanford

Margate and Ramsgate RNLI crews and the Coastguard helicopter are currently involved in an operation following a report of a person in the water from a vessel with migrants aboard drifting in the shipping lane.

The search, which also involves Lee on Solent and Lydd, has been deployed some 20 miles off Broadstairs.

Ramsgate RNLI received the call to launch at 1.15pm. It is understood that around 19 migrants have been picked up by Ramsgate lifeboat crew.

Ambulance, police and Border Force are currently stationed at Ramsgate harbour.

Search for person in the water continues

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said the call  came in after reports of a person -thought to be a woman- in the water. The search for that individual continues.

They added: “HM Coastguard is currently coordinating a search and rescue response after reports of a person in the water, approximately 24nm off North Foreland.

“Ramsgate, Dover and Margate RNLI lifeboats and HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd have been sent and vessels in the vicinity are being asked to keep a sharp look out.

“The report came from a vessel, which had a number of people on board. The remaining people have been recovered by Ramsgate lifeboat which is now making its way to shore and will be met by Border Force and the police.

“Committed to safeguarding life’

“We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.  HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.

“The search for the missing person is ongoing.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are aware of an ongoing incident in the Channel. More details will be provided in due course.”

Earlier today 30 migrants were intercepted crossing the Channel in four small boats. Border Force officials were alerted at 4am.

The vessels were picked up by a Border Force cutter and coastal patrol boat. Those on board were Iranian and Afghan nationals.

A Border Force vessel previously in Ramsgate Photo Mark Stanford
  • The term migrant refers to people who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum.



  1. Desperate people trying to get to the UK…Our Lifeboats and crews do not differentiate on who they save…
    A former LifeBoat at Margate was very appropriately named “Friend To All Nations”

        • What benefits will they get? You seem to know so tell us don’t holds back tell us the benefits they will recurve that is worth risking their lives and the lives of their.

          • When these people were in the camps in France (safe country), they nearly all claimed they wanted to come over here to get an education, as if it were scripted! Is that worth risking their lives for either?

            With regards to benefits, I understand lots of them pay many thousands of pounds to get a place on these boats, but I bet they don’t declare their true worth when they get here, and yes they probably do ultimately receive state benefits in the end.

            I still think it inconsiderate coming over here during gales, and risking lives to the RNLI like this.

  2. Strangely, no sign of the french authorities putting any lifesaving vessel out to see in the area to help find those missing, since 20 miles of our coast would put them closer to France where they have set off from. It’s all left to the UK as usual.

  3. Like the maritime and coast guard spokesman have already said in their statement HM coastguard are only concerned with the preservation of life and helping those at sea safely to shore. They were within OUR coast and so they were brought to shore instead of just leaving them to possibly die and wash up on one of our beaches! That is their duties, do you think they should just ignore the calls? At least ensuring they are brought back safely they know where they are located when on land, and no one will wash ashore leaving the public at risk of finding a human body! They are obviously desperate, otherwise they wouldn’t be making such a dangerous journey across the channel!!

  4. I have photos of the event if your interested for your news feed these pictures contain police at the location , and the immigrants

  5. Thanet resident said, “That is their duties, do you think they should just ignore the calls?”

    Absolutely not, but on the other hand, this is putting RNLI lives at risk over what basically comes down to as a choice. These people had reached a safe country already, and I reckon the lifeboat crews family’s and friends must be sick with worry, with them searching in such conditions!

  6. The RNLI also helps people who have run aground or run out of fuel. As Liam Coyle has already said, they don’t refuse to help anyone, no matter what the reason for the call-out, or the reason why people are in difficulties or danger, in or on the sea. Their role is to save lives not to judge people.

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