In a case that highlights the lengths to which migrants will go to reach the UK via Jersey and Guernsey, the man, who is thought to be about 23 years old, swam across the harbour and boarded the vessel while it was docked.
He remained on the fast ferry overnight before being found by Condor staff in an area at the stern of the ship used to store mooring ropes as they carried out a routine security check.
The man was described by French authorities as appearing to have come from an ‘Arab country’ and was given a summons to appear at a nearby asylum office.
Frederic Wakefield, president of Morvan Fils – a St Malo-based company owned by Condor – spoke to the Ouest-France newspaper following the incident, which took place on 1 July. He said the man was ‘soaked’ when he was found.
‘Our passenger ferry was moored 40 metres from the car ramp to make way for the Brittany Ferries vessel that was leaving on the Sunday morning, as ours was only sailing to Jersey on the Sunday afternoon,’ he said.
‘For years we have had security procedures in place and we conduct routine and thorough inspections and also have motion detectors installed. Our staff found him in the back of the boat in a small area used to store the ropes. He was soaked, having swum in the harbour.
‘He was very pleasant and we wrapped him in a Condor Ferries coat and offered him hot tea until police and Customs officers arrived.’
According to the newspaper, the man’s identity has not yet been formally established but he has told officers that he was born in 1995 and appears to have come from an ‘Arab country’.
A spokesman for Jersey Customs confirmed that the incident took place, but would not provide any further comments.
It is not the first time migrants have attempted to reach Jersey. In 2016 it was reported that French authorities had intercepted a vessel – believed to be bound for the Channel Islands – off the coast of Barneville-Carteret in Normandy, which was carrying a ‘small number’ of migrants.
During the same year two people were arrested after an Iranian man was brought into the Island illegally in the boot of a car on a ferry from St Malo. One man, who was given a ten-week suspended prison sentence, was granted asylum in the UK and the woman who drove the car was given 312 hours’ community service.
And in 2017 three Iranians – thought to be attempting to reach the UK – landed at Bonne Nuit in a boat. The trio were all carrying fake Swedish ID cards.
The JEP contacted Ille-et-Villaine Prefect, which oversees law enforcement in St Malo, and Condor for comment.