‘Is that the police?’

‘Yes. 101 call centre here, how may I direct your call?’

 ‘Dunno mate but there’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on off the Isle of Wight …’ 

‘Can I stop you there, kerfuffle is not a word we allow to be used, it could be discriminatory or even a  hate word. I will  have to ask officers to call and make an appointment to speak to you about your choice of words and any incident .’

 ‘No. No that’s no use, this looks dangerous out there’

‘Oh, dangerous you say, first make sure you are in a safe place. You are? Well in that case I can redirect your call the H.M Coastguard.’


‘Hello Coast Guard, it looks like there is a problem with a super tanker off the IOW!’

‘Yes, don’t worry, Sir, we have it hand. We’ve sent a rescue helicopter out to take a look’

‘It doesn’t need rescuing it’s going around in circles.‘

‘Yes, we are aware of that, thank you for your call.’


‘Hello, is that the National TV News Desk?’ 

‘Well no, not actually, we are all working from home at the moment, ok?‘

‘Well I dunno if you know but there’s a super tanker in distress off the Isle of Wight, the Captain made a radio call and says he’s in danger as stowaways have taken control and everybody is locked in a safe room.’

‘O.K leave it with me I’ll contact the government agencies and find out what’s going on’.


‘Hello, is that …’

‘Department of Transport P.R. team, may I help?’

‘Yes, National T.V News desk here, what do you know about this tanker in distress off the Isle of Wight?’

‘Nothing mate, nothing to do with us – have you tried the Coast Guard H.Q?’

Yes, but they say it’s nothing to do with them, they only do rescue operations,.’ 

‘Oh, try Plod, it’s in Hampshire, they will know what to do.’

Tried that, mate they are all in a strategy meeting about enforcing Covid guidance.’

‘Well in that case try the Home Office.’


Hello Home Office, this tanker that’s in trouble in the Channel … What do you mean what channel, you know – the English Channel …’ 

‘Can I stop you there, it’s nothing to do with us, we only deal with migrants who have arrived in boats here. Try the Foreign Office.’ 


‘Hello Foreign Office ….’

‘Not us mate, try the cabinet office or failing that the MoD’.


 ‘Hello M.O.D police, there’s a super tanker been taken over in the English Channel by stowaways.’  

Nothing to do with us we only deal with terror incidents not stowaways, stowaways are the responsibility of the civil police, not us. You could try the Cabinet Office there are 7000 of them there, if they are not still working from home, somebody will know what to do.’


‘Cabinet Office….. yes we know, thanks.  A Covid Marshal on the IoW told a Community Support Officer who told the police safer neighbourhood team and they reported it to us, we’re trying to locate the P.M. but he’s in a  top level meeting about  free school meals at the moment and can’t be disturbed,  but Dominic C  is around somewhere I’ll tell him …’


‘Hi Dom, Annabel here, from the Cabinet, yes, yes, remember me now – good, look there’s a little prob with a super tanker in the English Channel.  Yes Dom, I’ve tried Priti, and Gavin, and Grant and it’s nothing to do with them apparently.  Dominic R wants to send in the Special Boat Service and so does Ben, but the problem is the only local operational frigates only run in cold water or is it warm water? I forget and, in any case, they are still tied up somewhere. He’s not sure about the Special Boat Service because they are training in Wales this week and that Dripfort bloke or whatever his name is has locked Wales  down  and closed the borders, and  in any case after your review we didn’t know if we still had any operational …’

‘Ok. Right. Will do.’


‘Hello Navy, this is the Cabinet Office here. Can you send a frigate and some blokes and deal with that tanker problem in the English Channel?  I’ve had a quick word with everybody and the PM said he wants it sorted ASAP before the French find out and  think we can’t handle it and try it on over the illegals in the dinghies.  And what if they think in a ‘no deal’ we couldn’t defend our fishing boats …. Yes …. Me too. Thanks for your help’.


‘Over now to our English Channel Correspondent working from the safety of his home in Birmingham. Alistair – what’s the latest position regarding the stowaways taking over the super tanker?’

‘Well, difficult to say really, Martin, but what I’ve gathered from sources on ‘WhatsApp’ and Instagram it looks as if the combined sources of U.K Border Force, H.M Coastguard, and the Police Air Arm didn’t work, so some bloke called Nigel hired a fishing boat to go and take a close look himself, took some film and sent it to the Cabinet Office. Dom Raab got involved and sent in the Special Boat Service who sorted the incident in less than 10 minutes. Apparently it could have been over even quicker than that, but the operation was slowed down by the inclusion of Human Rights Lawyers who wanted assurance that the terrorists – sorry stowaways –  would receive  a warm welcome when landed in a port of their choice and five star accommodation befitting the terrible ordeal they had just been through. Now back to you in  the studio.’

‘Thank you Alistair, we have contacted the Department for Trade and asked what the tanker was carrying and were reassured by a spokesperson that the crew and cargo were safe. And now in further news …’


Photo by Jannis_V

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