French maritime authorities rescued 126 migrants, including several women and children, in the English Channel in northern France on Friday as they tried to travel to the UK aboard precarious vessels.
A first vessel, which was in difficulties off the port of Dunkirk, was rescued with 43 people on board, including six women, two children and two babies, the maritime prefecture of Mancha and the North Sea said in a statement ( Premar).
The passengers, one of them hypothermic, were rescued by a French Navy patrol ship and assisted by firefighters, before being handed over to the Gallic Border Police (PAF).
Another 40 migrants were also rescued in the channel of the port of Calais by another intervention, relief and rescue patrol vessel, which later found and took on board another 43 people who were on a precarious vessel off Dunkirk.
According to Premar, they were all delivered to PAF at the port of Dunkirk.
Since the end of 2018, illegal crossings of the English Channel by migrants seeking to reach the UK have multiplied, despite repeated warnings from British authorities highlighting the danger linked to traffic density, strong currents and low temperatures.
According to the maritime prefect of Premar, Philippe Dutrieux, around 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between January 1 and August 31 this year, of which 3,500 were “recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast.
In 2020, 9,500 people attempted the crossing, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.
Source: Renascença – Noticias by rr.sapo.pt.
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