Number of people crossing English Channel by small boats nearly doubles 2020 record in nine months
Published: 08:56, 27 September 2021
Updated: 16:05, 27 September 2021
It's still only September but already nearly twice the number of asylum seekers who travelled across the English Channel by small boats last year have made the 21-mile journey.
More than 16,400 people had arrived in Britain by Friday, according to Home Office data compiled by the PA news agency. Last year’s total was more than 8,400. (Sept 24)
Further channel crossings were witnessed over the weekend.
On Sunday, a Border Force coastal patrol vessel was seen arriving in Dover full of people as well as a lifeboat with around 40 or 50 people, including families and young children, on board.
It was estimated around 150 people arrived between 8am and 12.30pm.
All were wearing blue surgical face masks and orange lifejackets.
Later on, a group of people thought to be asylum seekers, were escorted by police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay. They had landed on the beach in a small boat following a number of arrivals from the Channel.
In October last year a Kurdish-Iranian family, including small children, died when their migrant boat sank off the French coast.
Last month a 27-year-old man from Eritrea died after he and four others jumped overboard as their boat started to sink.
Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine channel threat commander, said: “The government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.
“But this is a complicated issue requiring changes to our laws. The government’s New Plan for Immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life.”
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More by this authorJohn Nurden