The HISWA-RECRON has recently warned charter companies in the Netherlands about a new route for people smuggling to the United Kingdom.
HISWA-RECRON is the business association of water sports and leisure companies in the Netherlands. The majority of (recreational) maritime professionals in the Netherlands are a member of this association. A few members, charter companies to be exact, informed their association of suspicious charter requests.
It appears that professional people smugglers have attempted to charter a yacht in the Netherlands to smuggle a group of refugees from Germany to the United Kingdom. The vessel they attempted to charter was of a larger size, and they aimed to sail the North Sea with it.
One of the charter companies that reported this, decided against chartering the vessel because their gut told them not to. Another charter company, in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, attempted to expose the smugglers, but was unsuccessful. This time, the smugglers probably relied on their gut feeling!
HISWA-RECRON advises their members to :
- simply ignore the charters, of which they suspect the intent is to smuggle people into the United Kingdom;
- phone the national emergency number and inform the authorities;
- contact either the Seaport Police or Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
Charter companies that are not based in the Netherlands are recommended to follow the same advice. It might be wise to identify the right authorities to contact ahead of time, so when faced with such a suspicious request, you know exactly who to contact.
With thanks to Moonbeam on YBW Form : Devon: Eight arrested over Mothecombe Beach alleged people-smuggling