Eight boats carrying a total of 159 migrants, who were trying to reach the British coasts, were rescued on Thursday off the coast between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Dunkirk. Ten children and a pregnant woman were among the migrants.
A first operation, piloted by the Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (CROSS), first rescued 26 castaways, including four children. The interventions were then linked: a speedboat recovered four castaways then two CROSS boats took in 23 and 32 migrants. A third boat rescued 18 migrants in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais.
Strong increase in migrant crossings
In the meantime, an intervention, assistance and rescue tug from the French Navy first recovered three, then 41 castaways, brought back to Boulogne-sur-Mer. A merchant vessel then informed the CROSS that it had taken care of 12 castaways, who remained on board unharmed in the evening, the weather not allowing their immediate transhipment.
Since the end of 2018, crossings by migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom have increased despite repeated warnings from the authorities. In 2020, more than 9,500 crossings or attempted crossings were recorded, four times more than in 2019, according to a report from the maritime prefecture. Six people were killed there and three disappeared.