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Drone footage shows dozens of migrant canoes stacked in the Dover compound

Dozens of assorted canoes used by migrants to make the perilous journey across the Channel are stored in Dover.

Drone footage shows more than 100 small boats stacked in rows in a gated complex – evidence of perhaps thousands of people traveling to the UK in 2021.

This year, a record number of migrants have crossed the UK despite the Home Office’s wishes to make the route ‘unsustainable’.

Border forces were active again in the Strait of Pas de Calais on Tuesday, but stronger winds were expected to make crossings difficult.

In July so far, more than 3,300 have arrived in the UK, a new record for a single month, according to analysis of data from the PA news agency.

Government officials fear the high number of crossings will continue through the summer, with small boat arrivals this year already exceeding the total for all of 2020.

Despite this, the UK continues to see fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.

At least 44,230 people have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea so far this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Incidents crossing the Channel by migrants
Boats used to cross the English Channel by people considered to be migrants are stored at a facility in Dover, Kent (Gareth Fuller / PA)

They will also send boats in waves – smaller boats sent first to moor French authorities, while other boats carrying larger numbers of migrants will make the crossing later in the day.

Officials expressed concern over the overcrowding of ships – one boat last week had 83 people on board – and the safety conditions.

They encountered inflatable boats held together with duct tape and migrants with rubber rings or bicycle tire inner tubes rather than life jackets.

Last week Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a deal to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches, with the government awarding France £ 54million.

But, while efforts to address the issue have been stepped up by Emmanuel Macron’s government – with around 2,700 people returned to France so far this year after being intercepted at sea – there is still some frustration at sea. Ministry of the Interior on French policy.

Incidents crossing the Channel by migrants
Small boats are in storage after being intercepted in the English Channel by border force officers (Gareth Fuller / PA)

British offers to help board ships in French waters have so far been rejected by Paris, it is believed.

The interior minister told MPs last week that she had shared her views on the situation “extensively” with her French counterpart.

The UK is also helping to fund aerial surveillance along the French coasts, but legal difficulties in France have meant that drones are not being used as much as had been hoped.

Officials recognize that there are no quick fixes to tackle the situation, but they have been in contact with their counterparts in Australia and Greece to discuss how those countries are coping with the offshore situations. of their coasts.


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