RNLI confirms fishermen 'who didn't want migrants being rescued' blocked crew from going to help

25 November 2021, 13:18 | Updated: 30 November 2021, 22:15

By Tim Dodd

The RNLI have confirmed one of their crews was blocked from going on a call by fishermen who said they did not want any more migrants being rescued after the incident was witnessed by an LBC caller.

A spokesperson for the charity confirmed the incident had been reported to the police, and that the lifeboat was eventually able to launch.

It comes as rescuers fear the "floating death trap" dinghy which capsized in the Channel, leading to the deaths of at least 27 people including children, may have collided with a container ship.

The caller told James O'Brien she witnessed fishermen blocking an RNLI lifeboat from rescuing migrants and shouting "don't bring any more of those home, we're full up".

Zoe in Hastings said: "On Saturday my boyfriend and I were just on the beach and we heard the lifeboat station opening up and thought 'oh they have a call' and started watching.

"There was a group of fisherman pulled up, gutting fish on the shore, and as the boat station opened up we heard the fisherman start shouting things like 'don't bring any more of those home, we're full up', 'that's why we stopped our donations', and that kind of really horrible stuff.

"It was really upsetting, and you could hear the hatred in their voice", she said.

Read more: Minister denies Priti Patel is 'failing' to sort out migrant crisis

"The lifeboat crew pulled the boat out and were going to go into the water and some of the fishermen deliberately came out with their buckets and stood directly in the line of the boat so the boat couldn't be put in the water."

"Are you sure?" James asked.

"I'm absolutely sure, the police were called," she replied.

"It really shook me to the core and we thought of it yesterday night when we saw the news that people had passed away again."

Read more: Migrant Channel crossings could hit 'epidemic' levels, warns ex-Border Force chief

"We can confirm an incident was reported to the police," said the RNLI spokesperson.

"The lifeboat was able to launch and the station remains on service."

In a statement, Sussex Police said: "Just after 4pm on Saturday, November 20, police were made aware of reports of a disturbance near to the Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Station.

"A police officer attended the scene while also being supported by colleagues monitoring the situation on CCTV.

"No arrests were made."

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