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Migrants in the English Channel: France will charter two additional rescue ships

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France will charter two additional ships in the English Channel to carry out rescue operations on this maritime route taken by many migrants wishing to reach the English coast, announced on Wednesday, November 30, the General Secretariat for the Sea, an organization under the authority of the prime minister. This year, more than 40,000 migrants have arrived in the UK in small boats.

The General Secretariat for the Sea said in a press release:

“Faced with the increase in the number of attempted crossings (…) despite the risks incurred on precarious boats, the Prime Minister has decided to strengthen the sea rescue system in the coming weeks. »

This reinforcement “is based first of all on the chartering of two additional vessels specifically dedicated to this mission, a requisition procedure being envisaged so that the availability of these additional means intended to save lives is as quickly as possible”continued the general secretariat, headed by the former prefect of police of Paris Didier Lallement.

Read also: Cross-Channel migrations: the impossible status quo

Aerial drones

The organization justified these additional means and the calendar of the announcement by “the arrival of colder weather” and “possibility of serious accidents” who “increase for migrants who use nautical means putting them in danger on the busiest maritime route in the world”.

“The system will then see the arrival of aerial drones, which will contribute to a better real-time understanding of the maritime situation, in particular during attempts to cross several boats simultaneously”the statement said.

The announcement comes a year after the death of at least twenty-seven migrants on November 24, 2021 when their boat sank. Mid-November, The worldwho consulted elements of the judicial investigation carried out in Paris on this tragedy, explained that the shipwrecked people called on fifteen occasions the French maritime authorities to ask for help, in vain.

Read the survey: Article reserved for our subscribers The investigation into the death of 27 migrants in the Channel in 2021 overwhelms the rescue services

In a telephone conversation with these maritime authorities, a migrant said: “Help please (…) I am in the water. » “Yes, but you are in English waters, sir”replies his interlocutor. “No, not English waters, French waters, please can you come quickly”he begs again, before the conversation is cut off.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers The anger of associations after the death of 27 migrants in the Channel: “They were men, women, children, humans”

The World with AFP