Jamie Grierson, Guardian, October 11, 2020
The Home Office is considering permitting the use of nets to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats to the UK to claim asylum, according to a former Royal Marine tasked with preventing the journeys.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Home Office’s clandestine channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said nets could be used to clog propellers and bring boats to a standstill as they attempt the crossing over the Dover Strait.
O’Mahoney told the Telegraph: “It’s that type of thing, yes. So, safely disabling the engine and then taking the migrants onboard our vessel.”
The tactic is the latest tactic reported to be under consideration by ministers and officials alongside locking migrants up on oilrigs, sending them more than 5,000 miles away to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic and using water cannon to create waves to push back vessels.
While the number of people arriving in the UK in small boats has increased nearly four-fold this year to more than 7,000, the total number of asylum applications received by the UK government between April and June nearly halved compared with the first three months of the year as the Covid-19 pandemic struck.