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Borders: Patrol Craft

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration patrol vessels (a) operate in UK waters and (b) have operated in UK waters in each of the last 10 years. (318704)

The UK Border Agency operates five offshore patrol ships in UK territorial waters and adjacent seas. These ships provide operational coverage 365 days a year.

These ships were transferred from HM Revenue and Customs on 5 August 2009. HM Revenue and Customs, and HM Customs and Excise before that, had operated a five ship fleet since 2002.

Prior to 2002, HM Customs and Excise operated seven smaller patrol ships and a range of smaller launches and rigid inflatable boats.

UK Border Agency vessels work regularly in support of operations by other law enforcement agencies. In addition, UKBA officers respond to instances of suspected border crime in UK waters.