Four times more crossings or attempted crossings than in 2019. More than 9,500 crossings or attempts of the Strait of the Pas de Calais by migrants wishing to reach the British coasts on makeshift boats were recorded in 2020, announced, this Friday, the maritime prefecture.
“In 2020, 868 events linked to attempts or crossings of migrants by sea were counted in the Channel and the North Sea, involving 9,551 migrants”, she said. Six people died and three are missing during these perilous crossings, after four deaths in 2019, she said.
Improved smuggler methods
The maritime prefecture stressed that the same migrant could be counted several times if he attempted the passage several times.
In 2019, 203 attempts or crossings involving 2,294 migrants were recorded. This figure had already been multiplied by four compared to the year 2018.
According to François Guennoc, president of the Auberge des Migrants, the increase in this migratory phenomenon can be explained by “several factors”: “The very good weather conditions between early March and August, the increase in the success rate, the improvement in smugglers’ methods, in particular with multiple departures over a coastal area of nearly 200 km, the profitability of these practices, as well as the growing difficulties of going through trucks due to the improvement of the border tracking system ”.
A thousand migrants in the camps
For the candidates to the passage, “the conditions of survival on the coast are increasingly difficult, with massive evacuations and strong police pressure”, noted François Guennoc. According to him, “these attempts will continue because of the European policy in terms of the right to asylum and reception which is not going in a positive direction”.
The associations currently count around a thousand migrants between Calais and Grande-Synthe, exposed to almost daily expulsions from their makeshift camps.
Contact details from the regional operational surveillance and rescue center (CROSS) Gris-Nez, rescue operations regularly involve maritime and air resources to provide assistance to often overloaded tires and faulty engines.