Over the past weekend, the French emergency services conducted six rescue operations in the North Sea, saving a total of 134 migrants attempting to cross to the United Kingdom, as reported by the French coast guard. The first incident occurred on the night from Saturday to Sunday when a boat with 21 passengers on board encountered trouble in the Strait of Calais. The navy successfully rescued them, transferring them to the fire brigade and border police at the port of Dunkirk.
Throughout Sunday, five additional boats of various sizes were intercepted. Among them was a vessel carrying 60 people, while the smallest was a dinghy with two migrants. Notably, the 21 passengers on a boat initially experiencing engine issues managed to resolve the problem on their own. Despite an offer of assistance from the French navy, they declined help and were permitted to continue their journey.
The English Channel, hosting more than 400 cargo ships daily, stands as one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. In recent years, an increasing number of migrants have been attempting the perilous crossing. According to UK government figures, 10,959 individuals reached the UK in 2020 through this route, followed by 34,443 in 2021 and 58,502 in 2022. The majority hail from Iran, Albania, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. As of October 3 this year, the count reached 25,330.