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.”