Number of migrants crossing English Channel nearly doubles 2020 figure

Almost twice as many people have made the dangerous journey in small boats so far this year

Nearly twice as many migrants have travelled across the English Channel in 2021 than in the whole of last year.

More than 16,400 people had made the dangerous journey so far this year in small boats by Friday, according to official data compiled by the PA news agency.

Last year’s total was more than 8,400 – meaning this year’s figure to date is closing in on doubling the 2020 total.

Further channel crossings were witnessed by PA at the weekend.

On Sunday, a Border Force coastal patrol vessel was seen arriving in Dover full of people, as well as a lifeboat with 40 to 50 people, including families and young children, on board.

From 8am to 12.30pm, it was estimated around 150 people had arrived.

The arrivals wore blue surgical face masks and orange life jackets.

Later, a group of people, thought to be migrants, were escorted by police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay.

They had landed on the beach in a small boat.

In October last year, a Kurdish-Iranian family, including small children, died when their boat sank off the French coast.

Last month, a 27-year-old man from Eritrea died after he and four others jumped overboard as their boat started to sink.

UK official Dan O’Mahoney said: “The government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.

“But this is a complicated issue requiring changes to our laws. The government’s New Plan for Immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life.”

Updated: September 26th 2021, 8:30 PM