Hundreds of UK-bound migrants rescued from sea in just four days

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More than 250 migrants have been rescued trying to cross the English Channel by boat in just four days, say French authorities. 

It’s a sign that departures from France to England are continuing despite UK government efforts to deter migrants from making the crossing.

London has been criticised for its controversial deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers who arrived illegally on British soil to the east African country.

Although none of these deportations have yet taken place — a first flight scheduled for June was cancelled after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) — both candidates to succeed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, have pledged to continue this policy.

The latest spike in crossings

On 15 August, a French customs coastguard patrol boat rescued 40 migrants. The day before 63 people were plucked out of the sea by a French navy vessel. 

On 16 August, a boat from the National Society for Rescue at Sea (SNSM) was mobilised to bring 50 passengers from a migrant boat to shore.

On the nights of 16 and 17 August, the French navy saved 62 people, while a rescue tug recovered a further 39 migrants. 

Towards a new record?

According to French maritime officials, 533 attempts to cross to England by boat, involving 18,763 migrants, were recorded over the first seven months of this year, up by more than 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.

The number of migrants illegally crossing the English Channel and arriving in the UK since the beginning of the year has exceeded 20,000, according to UK figures released on Sunday. Last year there were 28,526 migrants arriving by this method.