Twenty-seven people bound for Britain perished after their boat collided with a container ship, rescuers fear. The grim reality is that we knew a tragedy such as this was inevitable.
Crossing the English Channel is a perilous undertaking at any time of year. The Strait of Dover is the world’s busiest shipping lane and by November the waters are rough and the temperatures freezing.
Two survivors of the disaster paid the equivalent of £6,000 each for passage to England. The Government must redouble its efforts to go after these ruthless smugglers who contribute so much to the tonnage of human misery.
Given our geographical location, Britain is somewhat protected from the full force of the migrant crisis. Yet it is clearly a major political problem for Boris Johnson, already weakened by political storms.
The Prime Minister is criticised by those to his Left for not doing enough to help migrants risking their lives, while to his Right he is called on to control the borders.
Ultimately, the Government must work more closely with the EU, and France in particular. What would help is for Johnson to lower the temperature with the bloc, not raise hackles over Northern Ireland, which threatens our diplomatic and economic ties.
Britain alone cannot resolve the push factors that drive migration: war, poverty and the dream of a better life. But we need to do more to prevent the devastating loss of life within sight of our shores.