• On Wednesday, 166 migrants were picked up at sea as they tried to reach Britain.

  • Several rescue operations were necessary to rescue these people embarked on simple canoes.

  • The day before, a major network of smugglers had been dismantled in a five-country joint police operation.

On Wednesday, 166 people were rescued in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais, the day after an international dragnet that allowed the dismantling of a network of migrant smugglers in canoes to Great Britain.

No less than five different operations will have been necessary to recover all the castaways, we learned from the maritime prefecture of the Channel.

The operations began on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, when the regional operational center for surveillance and rescue (CROSS) Gris-Nez spotted several makeshift boats attempting the crossing towards England.

The very lucrative migrant smuggling business

In all, five boats require assistance.

On board the rescuers counted between 21 people and 47 passengers for the busiest of them for a total of 166 shipwrecked.

All were brought back to shore and handed over to the border police, with the exception of one migrant whose state of health required a helicopter evacuation to the hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Ironically, these rescues came the day after a vast police operation in five countries (Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain) aimed at dismantling a network of migrant smugglers.

About forty individuals had been arrested, suspected of having organized, in the past 12 months, more than 10,000 crossings of migrants in canoes.

A very lucrative criminal business which brought in the network 25 to 35 million euros, each migrant having to pay between 2,500 and 3,500 euros to get on a boat according to Eurojust.


Migrants drowned in the English Channel in November: nine new indictments


UN accuses Morocco and Spain of 'excessive use of force' against migrants in Melilla

  • Company

  • Hauts-de-France

  • Migrants

  • smugglers

  • Immigration