Over the weekend, Nigel Farage was involved in a rescue operation in the English Channel. Having headed out for a Sunday morning of sea fishing, Farage spotted two men adrift in an inflatable kayak about five miles off the Kent coast. The ex-kipper turned skipper called the coast guard before trying to pull the pair onto his boat.
'One of them was clearly in a very bad way,' Farage told Mr S, 'We had to get this bloke on board, there's no way he could have survived in the sea. We did our best but we could not lift him over the gunwales.'
When Border Force did arrive, it seems they and Farage had a standoff. A Home Office official told Mr S that Border Force were unable to safely pull up alongside the kayak given the poor weather conditions and instead instructed Farage to get the pair onto his boat.
Farage explained:'Border Force turn up and we have a conversation over the radio with them where they instruct us, not once but twice, that we must pick the guys out of the kayak and they will then pick the guys up from us. We tried to get them over the gunwales before and we weren't able to do it.' He added that during their first attempt, the second man still in the raft lost balance and ended up in the water.
The Home Office official said: 'The weather conditions were quite poor — there were concerns that such a large vessel going alongside the kayak could put the individuals in there at greater risk. Therefore what happened was the RNLI attended in a smaller vessel, came up alongside side it, took the individuals on board and from there they were transferred to Border Force.'
According to Farage, the rescue attempt took around an hour, during which time he managed to get a lifebuoy around one man while passing the pair hot cups of coffee. But he remains unimpressed: 'The instructions Border Force gave us, very firmly and deliberately twice, were the wrong instructions. There was no way we could have picked them up without one of them going back in the water. I completely understand that for them it was a difficult operation but for us it was impossible.'
The question Mr S wants answering, however, is why Border Force has vessels that are unable to safely pull those in need of rescue from small inflatables...