France: rescue at sea of ​​272 migrants trying to reach England

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Two hundred and seventy-two migrants who were trying to reach England on makeshift boats were rescued on Tuesday off the Strait of Pas-de-Calais, announced the maritime prefecture of this region of northern France.

Many boats in difficulty were reported overnight from Monday to Tuesday at the Gris-Nez Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (CROSS), the interventions continuing during the day of Tuesday, the Manche prefecture specifies in a press release. and the North Sea.

A coastal cruiser from the Maritime Gendarmerie notably rescued 48 castaways during three rescue operations.

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Ten relief operations

The prefecture has counted a total of 10 separate relief operations, including one carried out by a merchant ship.

The latter was near a boat in difficulty and picked up 31 castaways on board to then drop them off at the port of Dunkirk.

The 272 castaways were brought back to the ports of Calais, Dunkirk or Boulogne-sur-Mer and taken care of by border police and firefighters.

According to the maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, around 15,400 migrants attempted the dangerous crossing between January 1 and August 31, of which 3,500 were “recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast.

In 2020, crossings and attempted crossings concerned some 9,500 people, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.

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