The National Crime Agency has arrested three crew members on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. A total of 69 Albanians on board the vessel are also understood to have been detained. The agency, which fights organised crime, intercepted a 30-metre boat off the coast of Great Yarmouth in East Anglia on yesterday evening after it sailed from the Ostend area of Belgium.
The three crew members, including a Latvian national and two Ukrainian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.
The other 69 people, who were all Albanian nationals, were also arrested on suspicion of breaking immigration rules.
Craig Naylor, NCA Deputy Director of Investigations, said: “This was clearly a significant incident and a significant attempt to breach the UK’s border controls.
“We are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks, and prevent them from exploiting migrants for profit.”
He added: “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.
“Our aim is to target those who cause harm, safeguard those who are most vulnerable while securing the United Kingdom’s borders
The raid was a joint operation between the NCA, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force.
This included the Border Force cutters Searcher and Vigilant, as well as support from Essex Police.
The three crew members will be interviewed by NCA investigators.
The other 69 people will be dealt with by immigration officers, according to the NCA.
Express.co.uk has contacted the NCA.
More to follow…