More than 1,000 migrants picked up in English Channel

British vessels rescue 960 and French find about 190 more

Small boats used to cross the English Channel. PA
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About 1,000 migrants crossed the English Channel to the UK on Saturday, data from Britain's Ministry of Defence has shown.

Almost 190 more were picked up by French patrols on one of the busiest days of the year for attempted crossings.

The British MoD said 20 vessels carrying 960 migrants were detected crossing the channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

More than 26,000 people have crossed the channel in small, often unseaworthy boats so far this year, according to MoD figures.

Almost 190 more people were rescued in less than 24 hours on Saturday, said the French Premar maritime organisation.

In the early hours of Saturday, a navy patrol recovered about 60 people off the French coast, said Premar. It rescued another 50 later the same morning, returning them to French territory.

Migrants being brought ashore in England last weekend. EPA

France's paramilitary gendarmes meanwhile were also called out on Saturday morning, rescuing 47 people off the north coast, with another 29 recovered later in the day.

The plight of migrants in northern France who want to reach Britain is a long-running saga that has become a political controversy for the UK Conservative government.

Four months ago, Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the channel.

Under the deal, Britain plans to send some migrants, who arrive in the UK as stowaways or in small boats, to Rwanda where their asylum claims would be processed.

If the applicants are granted asylum, they would stay in the African country rather than returning to the UK.

The British government says the policy will deter people-trafficking gangs who ferry migrants across the English Channel.

Human rights groups say it is unworkable and inhumane to send people thousands of miles to a country they do not want to live in.

Britain already has paid Rwanda £120 million ($145 million) but no one has been sent there as part of the deal.

Updated: September 04, 2022, 12:42 PM
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