Scores of UK-bound migrants rescued off the French coast

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Scores of migrants were rescued off the northern coast of France as they were trying to reach England, French authorities said on Tuesday.

In four separate incidents, 108 migrants were taken ashore on Monday.

The Maritime Prefecture of the English Channel and the North Sea said the first two rescues involved 42 people and they were taken to Dunkirk.

Rescuers were then alerted to "shipwrecked persons requesting assistance off Leffrinckoucke", where 39 people were brought ashore.

Then, a tanker, Baixas Knutsen, reported a vessel off the coast at Calais. Twenty-seven migrants were rescued and taken to the French port.

Since the end of 2018, illegal crossings of the English Channel by migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom have multiplied despite repeated warnings from the authorities who highlight the danger linked to the density of traffic, strong currents and low water temperatures.

According to the maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, some 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between January 1 and August 31 this year, of which 3,500 were "recovered in difficulty" in the strait and brought back to the French coast. In 2020, 9,500 people attempted the crossing, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.

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