Britain and France to try all options to stop migrants crossing the English Channel

UKEnglish ChannelPixabay
UK-English Channel/Pixabay

The BBC reported, the UK and France will keep “all options on the table” as they try to stop migrants crossing the Channel.

The UK prime minister and French president said trafficking gangs were risking lives, after 27 people died on Wednesday in the worst-recorded migrant tragedy in the Channel.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the fatal crossing.

France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said, five women and a girl were among the dead.

He also said, two people were rescued and one was missing.

It was earlier reported 31 people had died, but the total was revised down overnight into Thursday.

Flag of UK-Powerboat/Pixabay
Flag of UK-Powerboat/Pixabay

Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by what happened in the Channel on Wednesday, adding the UK would leave “no stone unturned” to stop human trafficking gangs.

Read more: 31 migrants die in an attempt to cross to English Channel from France

A spokesman for the PM said, Mr Johnson and Emmanuel Macron also said it was important to work closely with Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as partners across Europe, to better tackle the problem before people reach the French coast.

The alarm was raised on Wednesday after a fishing boat crew spotted several people at sea off the coast of France.

The International Organization for Migration said it was the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since it began collecting data in 2014.

Speaking after an emergency government Cobra meeting on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said it was vital to step up efforts to break the business model of “gangsters” who send people to sea.

He admitted efforts so far to stem the flow of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats have not been enough and the UK would offer to increase its support to France.

The UK has pledged to pay France €62.7m (£54m) during 2021-22 to help increase police patrols along its coastline, boost aerial surveillance and increase security infrastructure at ports.

Mr Macron said France would not let the Channel become a “cemetery”. Since the start of 2021, he said, 1,552 smugglers had been arrested in northern France and 44 smuggler networks dismantled.

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Mr Macron added, despite this, 47,000 attempted Channel crossings to the UK took place this year and 7,800 migrants rescued.

French government ministers and officials will meet later on Thursday to discuss their response to the tragedy.

A number of people are believed to have reached the UK in small boats on Wednesday, with people seen being brought ashore in Dover by immigration officials.

It comes amid record numbers of migrants making the crossing from France to the UK.

The Dover Strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world and has claimed many lives of people trying to cross in inflatable dinghies.

It is thought at least 10 other people had died in the past few weeks while attempting to make it.

Source: BBC