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Yacht Skipper Jailed for People Smuggling Following Interception at Sea

On inspection, officers found nine Albanian nationals hidden in the cabin – three women (one of whom was pregnant), two young children and four men.

Marco Den Hollander, 32, was sentenced on October 8 to five years and seven months in prison at Ipswich Crown Court in England following an investigation by U.K. Border Force officers and Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigations team.

On May 27, 2021, Dutch authorities alerted Border Force as the sailing vessel MORGANA II left their waters without authority. The vessel was then tracked, intercepted and boarded by officers onboard HMC Searcher within U.K. territorial waters.

Marco Den Hollander was at the helm and informed Border Force officers that there were four people on board, and that they were friends of family who he was bringing to the U.K. However, on inspection, officers found nine Albanian nationals hidden in the cabin – three women (one of whom was pregnant), two young children and four men. The vessel, passengers and skipper were brought ashore when it was then established that the vessel had been hired in Holland – a subsequent search found only six life-jackets for those making the dangerous crossing.

Mr Den Hollander was subsequently charged with facilitating a breach of the U.K.’s immigration law and remanded in custody. He pleaded guilty on June 25, 2021.

“These sorts of evil criminals are motivated by money alone and this man clearly had no regard for the people on board who he put into grave danger, which could have had tragic consequences,” said Tom Pursglove MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. “This case is an excellent example of the fantastic work of our frontline officers who are doing everything they can on land, sea and in the air to prevent illegal immigration and bring the criminals responsible to justice. Our new plan for immigration will change the law so those who facilitate these dangerous crossings will face a maximum of life imprisonment. They should be in no doubt about the seriousness of these crimes and the punishment they will face.”

Read more at the U.K. Home Office

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