Three arrests in investigation into November fishing boat people smuggling event

9 Jun 2021 10:46 AM

Three men have been arrested in London and the south east as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the attempted smuggling of 69 Albanian migrants into the UK on board a fishing vessel in November 2020

The trio, a 34-year-old Lithuanian national living in Lambeth, a 32-year-old Israeli national living in Finchley and a 39-year-old Latvian national living in Kent, were detained by NCA officers in a series of raids yesterday morning.

They are now being questioned on suspicion of attempting to facilitate illegal immigration.

The arrests follow the interception of the fishing boat Svanic off the coast of East Anglia on 17 November last year, as part of a joint operation involving the NCA, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force.

The boat had sailed from the Ostend area of Belgium and was carrying 69 Albanian passengers, who were offloaded in Harwich to be dealt with by the immigration authorities.

The three crew members, a Latvian national and two Ukrainian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration and were subsequently charged.

 NCA Regional Head of Investigation Jacque Beer said:

“Those arrested are suspected of having played a key role in the events which led up to the interception of the Svanic in November last year.

This was a serious attempt to breach the UK’s border controls, and our investigation into that incident continues.

But yesterday’s activity once again demonstrates our determination to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks wherever they are operating. It is a key priority for the NCA.”