Exclusive: Farage’s French Migrant Escort Ship Also ‘Handed Over’ Pett Level Migrants Last Week

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
The French coast guard ship filmed by Brexit leader Nigel Farage escorting illegal migrants into British waters is a regular visitor, its own safety transponder data reveals, and can be proven to have made such missions at least twice in the past week.

The French coast guard “large patrol vessel” Fourmentin — ironically named after a famous 18th-century French pirate who made a living attacking the British — was filmed taking part in an illegal migrant handover mid-English Channel by Brexit veteran turned investigative reporter Nigel Farage on Wednesday. In the short film, taken from a fishing vessel close to where the hand-over took place, Mr Farage stated: “What we know is that a French naval vessel has been seen escorting boats out of French waters to get them into British waters… then they are off their hands.”

Publicly available data from the French ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) — a safety at sea system which helps track vessels to prevent accidents using ship-based transponders and shore-based receiving stations — not only confirms the Fourmentin met with a British coast guard craft while escorting migrants on the occasion Mr Farage described, but that it has previous form.

Data from the 20th of May shows the Fourmentin arriving on the English side of the Channel traffic separation scheme at 0915, before executing a figure of eight manoeuvre and leaving the area 30 minutes later at 0945.

Meanwhile, British government Coastguard cutter Speedwell also arrived at the same location. The AIS data of the Speedwell shows it coming practically alongside the Fourmentin and then leaving the area at 0937.

Having rushed to the area at a comparatively high speed of 24 knots (28 miles an hour over land), the Speedwell then proceeded back to her home port of Dover at a more leisurely speed of between seven and ten knots, while escorting a rubber boat full of illegals.