It’s been reported that 69 Albanian nationals were intercepted near the Suffolk coast and three men have been arrested on suspicion of people smuggling.
Reports state that all 72 people on board the fishing vessel that was sailing from Ostend area of Belgium have now been taken in and arrested. The boat was intercepted just off the coast of Great Yarmouth where border force cutters searcher and vigilant caught up with them and took control of the vessel late on Tuesday night.
Reports suggest that the crew members were from Latvia and Ukraine and will now be interviewed by the national crime agency. The 69 migrants that were found on the vessel were also arrested and will be investigated on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK.
The mass operation to take control of the vessel meant that 250 officers from various agencies were involved. Priti Patel thanked all those who were involved in the operation to seize the ship and the arrest of those who were facilitating the trafficking of others into the UK.
Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney said: “Thanks to the coordinated work between our partners at home and abroad we were able to quickly secure the vessel and a criminal investigation is now underway.”
NCA Deputy Director of Investigations, Craig Naylor said: “Our investigation into this attempt continues, and I’d like to thank our partners at Essex Police, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement for all they did last night and their ongoing work in support of our investigation going forward.
“Working with our partners, we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle people-smuggling networks, and prevent them from exploiting migrants for profit.
“We aim to target those who cause harm, safeguard those who are most vulnerable while securing the United Kingdom’s borders.”