No, image doesn't show migrant boat heading toward U.K.'s Dover in May 2024

By: Rajini KG
May 18 2024

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No, image doesn't show migrant boat heading toward U.K.'s Dover in May 2024

Screenshot of the viral image that shows a migrant boat heading towards Dover, England, in May 2024. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The viral image is a screenshot taken from a Sky News video report about a migrant boat sighted in the English Channel on August 11, 2020.

Claim ID 81c82e94

What’s the claim?

A photograph depicting individuals in a lifeboat, wearing life jackets, and a woman observing them has been circulating on social media. The image, shared on May 13, 2024, is accompanied by a claim that it represents recent attempts by migrants to enter the U.K. The overlaid text reads, “The fourth boat they have seen this morning of illegal immigrants heading towards Dover!” Dover is a coastal town in England, U.K.

Screenshot of the viral image shared on social media. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, contrary to the claim, the image is not recent. It originates from a Sky News video report about a boat carrying migrants, spotted in English waters on August 11, 2020.

Here are the facts

A reverse image search led us to the original video, published by Sky News on its YouTube channel (archived here) on August 11, 2020. The video, titled “Sky witnesses migrants entering British waters cheering 'UK' (sic),” features the now-viral image at the timestamp of 0:52 seconds. The woman in the video is a Sky News reporter, reporting from a boat and holding a microphone. She inquires about the origins of the people on the boat, who respond, “Iran.”

Screenshot of the Sky News YouTube video. (Source: YouTube/SkyNews/Screenshot)

Sky News incorporated a segment of this video in a text report dated August 11, 2020. According to the report, Sky News correspondent Ali Fortescue observed four boats carrying migrants from Sudan and Iran crossing the English Channel, seeking refuge in the U.K. This confirms that the video is from 2020, not recent.

Ali was quoted as saying, They were clearly very excited about the prospect of building a life here in the U.K. Obviously, these are migrants that are absolutely determined to take what is a very, very dangerous journey across the English Channel.” This establishes that the video is not recent but from 2020. 

The migrant crisis in the U.K.

It's worth noting that the U.K. government introduced the Illegal Migration Act in July 2023, in response to a surge in undocumented migrants entering the U.K. unofficially. The law stipulates that anyone attempting to enter the U.K. via the English Channel or an “illegal route” without prior permission can be detained by the Home Secretary and potentially deported to their home country or a country willing to admit them. The U.K. government has proposed deporting undocumented migrants detained in the U.K. to rehabilitation centers in Rwanda, an African country.

Government data indicates that from March 2023 to April 2024, approximately  40,000 immigrants arrived in the U.K. via small boats through such 'illegal' routes. From January 1, 2024, to April 30, 2024, 7,567 people entered the U.K. The most recent data shows that from May 9 to May 15, 2024, around 738 people arrived in the U.K., with the highest influx occurring on May 10, when 221 undocumented individuals entered the U.K.

The verdict 

The claim that a screenshot from a Sky News video report, showing migrants traveling in a boat on the English Channel towards the U.K. on August 11, 2020, represents a recent event is misleading. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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