River class Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Mersey has temporarily returned to port after two weeks in the English Channel.

The Government deployed the vessel, it says, in order to prevent migrants from risking their lives making the crossing.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said when the vessel was deployed:

“I can confirm that HMS Mersey will deploy to the Dover Straits to assist the UK Border Force and French authorities with their response to migrant crossings. The professionalism of the Royal Navy means the crew have been able to immediately divert from routine operations to help prevent migrants from making the dangerous journey across the Channel.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said at the time:

“My focus continues to be on protecting the UK border and preventing loss of life in the Channel. For these reasons, the government has decided to deploy a navy vessel, HMS Mersey, to support our existing efforts.

This will be an interim measure while the two Border Force cutters I have redeployed from abroad make their way back to UK waters. It is vital that we are working on all fronts to tackle this ongoing situation and I am grateful to Border Force and other agencies for the tireless work they have done in response to this activity.”

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How many have they dropped off in Portsmouth with instructions to go to the nearest welfare office?

Poor bastards being dropped in Portsmouth, it’s likely worse than the place they came from

They would feel quite at home there.


Then why didn’t they stay in France, Spain, Greece, Italy…why travel so far to a colder country?

I think we all know the answer to that!

I’m 100% behind genuine asylum, but genuine asylum seekers, and refugees, wouldn’t treat this country the way most of these economic/welfare migrants have.

Spot on Ian.

We have lost the plot. And fixing it will prove difficult with the PC Brigades screaming down any suggestions of being firm, creating a deterrent, or anything else.

And of course, HM opposition will gladly accept countless millions more, which they feed to get the vote in return.


None of them should be given asylum, by law it is the 1st safe country they reach, we have zero obligation to allow those who sneak into our country illegally to stay permanently, no one outside of Europe is this weak, we can’t be anymore either.


Technically you may be right but there is always a compassionate case by exception. A stock “no” is the wrong way to go.

The country has got compassion fatigue we have done our bit let the Saudis take the rest in


You would expect a Royal Navy vessel, to be picking up refugees from off the coast of a war-torn country.
Surely, picking them up off the coast of France raises serious questions and connotations?

Answer. Europe ( France ) is delighted to send them our way, indeed it encourages it. Has anyone travelled through Northern Paris from Gare Du Nord lately to see what has become of it? Answer. Our welfare system is extremely generous and should primarily be for those in need who have contributed to it. This is seen by all and many wish to come here. Though I also agree with Julian1 there are always exceptions. Sadly these exceptions seem to be the norm. Interestingly, when my father came here in 1962 there was no handout. You came here with proof… Read more »

Harry Nelson

A crew change after just 2 weeks at sea?????

Cam Hunter

Look Hms mersey needs to be in french waters so we can send the boats back! We can’t do that if they get into UK waters. And 20,000 per day to run Hms mersey seems expensive doesn’t it! What’s a frigate 1 million!

The crew are rotated every few months, Mersey had just spent a couple of months refitting in falmouth. So the crew change is part of a normal cycle. The Rivers are manned on a rotating crew system, split between training, leave and Operations, thus the vessels are used to maximum capacity. It’s not a two week cycle.

Cam Hunter

Can everyone who wants all RFA vessels to be built in the UK and especially the three new Solid suport ships can you sign this petition please https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/235377. And to help the guy who set it up could you forward it or get friends to sign it aswell. Cheers



Also, The so called flood of migrant boats is not the reality. Mersey’s main role was provide radar coverage and act as a coordinator for the numerous other patrol vessels, UK AND French. The French are supporting the operation and providing assets. The amount of migrants coming over is minute compared to other routes most of which are legal. In Calais two weeks ago, it was noted that over 1000 Romanian migrant workers ( only from coaches and vans) came through one of the UK border controls in Calais. Every single person was spoken to and all with the exception… Read more »

captain P Wash.

London, Oh I remember that place, It used to be the Capitol of England. Reckon It’s Truro now.


Don’t you be upsetting Basil’s romantic take on multiculturalism!

Beside’s…what’s Truro got to do with England?

captain P Wash.

Ian, It’s probably the only City that still resembles an English one.

Basil you’ve got one vote from me.

Hi Basil. Don’t forget the unknown numbers of illegal immigrants. A number widely reported as being possibly up to 1 million. An issue so serious Boris Johnson suggested an amnesty. You also never replied to the 300,000 a year statistic given to you by myself and the Captain a while back, which you laughed at until provided with the official government website quoting it. Taking all you say above into consideration, muchof which I happily accept, and whatever the reasons migrants are coming here. I ask again. Do you accept that 300,000 a year, thus 1.2 million every 4 years,… Read more »

Guys how do we forget ‘the unknown numbers of illegal immigrants’ Why is it that so many people profess to not only know the ‘unknown numbers of illegal immigrants’ but are then appalled and outraged by the number that pops into their head ? Surely the clue is in the word ‘unknown’ Maybe I should imagine something unknowable and then throw a hissy fit about it ?

captain P Wash.

To be Fair David, The Post that Daniele and I were referring to was not about the “Unknown Numbers” but Actual Official Government Figures, This was In Reply to Basil’s Extremely Inaccurate and somewhat Aggressive post. I Quoted Official Figures as did Daniele, He has yet to Reply. It’s nothing personal at all and I’m sure Daniele will back that up, It’s just a reply to a wildly Inaccurate Statement, That’s all. And, We have yet to receive any reply or Apology regarding Facts. Not That I, or Daniele would either Expect or Want any on a public Forum.

Sorry David if you cannot understand my point, that as well as the admitted official figure of 300,000 plus there are also many illegals who entered this country illegally by sea, lorry, dingy or wherever that need to be taken into account.

But its OK I can smell the burning sarcasm and irritation at my points in your post. Do carry on, or maybe actually debate the issues without the backhanded sniping?

Truro, don’t say that the cornish nationalists will be out again!

captain P Wash.

Ha, They do have the “Curnow King” though.

As someone from the depths of Cornwall, I must say, you are right.

captain P Wash.

Well, That’s a first !!!!!!!!


Has anyone actually compared our welfare system against other European countries? From what I have seen there are countless with significantly better, from the claimants perspective, systems. The idea they are coming here for the wellfare is nonscence that the daily mail outs out. They are coming here because there is a perception that we are a multicultural country where it is easy to get work. However also compare the limited numbers making it to the Uk Vs the huge numbers in Italy or France.

Huge numbers that with EU ID cards issued and freedom of movement rules can then legally come here, putting even more pressure on public services, with an ageing population.

Hence one of the major reasons of the Brexit vote.

Steve your flogging a dead horse. You won’t win an argument on migration with facts ! Just a thought where’s expat it would be interesting to hear his point of view on the evils of immigration !


It’s not so much immigration per se, most of us (excluding the Cornish!) are immigrants, even the (Dublin Celt) low-land Scottish.
For me, it’s the demographic projections of a theological based culture, set to dominate our grandchildren’s lives.

Saving lives at sea is a measure of our humanity, but are’nt we being manipulated when it’s from off the Coast of France? Is this really a Humanitarian crises, or something else?

Is there such a thing as Stockholm Syndrome affecting a Nation?

the comments section on this site seems to jump around with message times and order, as a number of comments have appeared between my last comments, is this normal.
Anyway in answer to the 300,000 immigrant point, yes I accept this, these are legal economic migrants, they wouldn’t be coming if there were no jobs. Until the situation changes to a point where the UK can service these job vacancies occurs it is to our benefit that foriegn labour helps us out.

Having just reread some of the comments I am surprised my previous posting was considered aggressive, strange, maybe an element of sarcasm, but not aggression. I am closely involved with border related immigration issues and can say that the pictute painted by the majority of the media is simply wrong, parts scewed and other facts tsken out of context. All is not well, certainly, but not as bad as some broadcast.


No disrespect Basil, but I, like many on here, am well-travelled: Africa, Asia (inc Indian Subcontinent), Americas (over 25 States, inc Canada), Europe, ME, NE…Mainly interiors… I am also well-travelled re-UK (Worked in London 4yrs), taking in many UK towns and cities from North to South. I have lived in, and around communities, at all levels! If Michael Fish tells me it’s not going to be stormy, but when I put my head out the window there’s a storm, then Basil, there’s a storm! I personally, through experience, question the character of many illegal, economic migrants from the Islamic States,… Read more »

captain P Wash.

Yup, Well said.

captain P Wash.

It appeared to start off “Somewhat Aggressively” and Inaccurate to me. But It’s nothing personal mate, I enjoy the Banter. The 300,000 figure was taken from Official figures and I wholly agree that the number of “Illegal” Persons crossing the Channel In small Boats Is small In Comparison.

Indeed Captain. But the small number of illegals is not the point we make. It is the system that allows them to remain ( PC ) and the wider unsustainable number coming legally that are the main issues. But we all know those points are, and continue toe b, ignored. I’d like to apologise to readers looking for Defence content for these non military political posts that spring up here on a regular basis. But when they do I will not be silenced. I will not. I have my views and I will state them ,whatever the PC brigade say.… Read more »

Hi Basil. I did not take any of your comment as aggressive either! But what I keep banging on about which you ( and plenty of others all across the land for many years ) either keep ignoring, or not getting my point maybe, is this. I’m not doubting the usefulness of 300,000 for labour. I understand your point migrants want to work. So did my Dad. No issue. I’m emphasising that the figure of 300,000 is on top of our population, per year, ongoing, since the late 90’s. Thus at least a 1.2 million increase in the UK population… Read more »

I do think the majority of us agree it is a significant problem, however we are looking at it from different angles and experiences. I also am well travelled, my present work takes me thoughout the EU, interestingly many EU countries share our concerns and they also look at it from differing angles, The difference being variations in their domestic laws allow different methods of dealing. It is difficult to argue with a foriegn law enforcement official that they must stop a person travelling, detain them and pay for thier transport back to Bulgaria when the person has a job… Read more »

anyway let’s get back to defence

Agreed Basil.

Good to debate with you and I appreciate your work for the nation.