Last year, the French Coast Guard was ripped out more than four times the year before to pick up migrants who cross the Channel illegally. In total, 9,551 migrants were intercepted trying to sail to Britain. In 2019 there were 2,294.
The Coast Guard speaks of a significant increase. Compared to 2018, the numbers have even increased six-fold. “Most of the time they are men, but we have also taken women and even small children from the sea, who usually try to make the crossing in small boats,” the authorities say. “People have no idea how dangerous it is.”
In 2020, six people died trying to cross the Channel. In 2019, there were four. Calais has been a gathering place for migrants for many years. From there they try to make the crossing to Britain.
Until a few years ago, they tried illegally to climb aboard trucks, which went to Britain via ferries and the Channel Tunnel. When more and more security came there, they increasingly chose to go out to the water with mostly inflatable boats of human smugglers.
Most migrants tried to cross over in the summer months. Its warmer, theres less wind and theres less waves. But also in other months there were peaks. At the end of September 88 migrants were picked up on one day. On November 30, there were 121 in one day.
Drones above sea
The French and British authorities have taken several initiatives over the past year to prevent migrants from crossing. More patrols and the deployment of drones over the sea were decided more than two months ago. The coastguards of the two countries are also cooperating more intensively and exchanging more information.
the time being, Brexit does not seem to have led to a decrease. In recent weeks, migrants have also been picked up, sometimes dozens a day. Two weeks ago, the French Coast Guard came across four boats with a total of 78 migrants.