Twelve migrants managed to reach the English coast, where they were arrested, by crossing the
Channel on a fishing boat stolen in the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) Monday night. This is an “unprecedented mode of operation” according to the maritime prefecture. The French authorities who monitor the coast alerted their English counterparts on seeing a fishing boat take a “strange” route Monday between 21:30 and midnight, in a calm sea, says the spokesman of the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea Ingrid Parrot.
The Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue (Cross) Gris-Nez called the owner, who realized that his boat, about ten metres long, had been stolen in the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer. According to a source close to rescue, it is a trammel about a dozen metres long.
In England, the Border Force then stopped the migrants ashore around 1 am, according to the maritime prefecture which was unaware of the exact location of their arrival in Britain. Cape Gray-Nez is about 30 kilometres from the English coast.
“We are in an unprecedented mode of operation, until now it was makeshift boats,” reports Ingrid Parrot, highlighting “the long-term cooperation with the English authorities” to fight illegal immigration .
According to the maritime prefecture, there were 23 rescues of migrants at sea in 2016, 12 in 2017. In 2018, there have already been 23 operations, including both relief and arrests at the time the migrants were preparing to leave.
[Translated by Act for freedom now!]