Europe 1 with AFP 10:12 p.m., November 30, 2022
To carry out rescue operations in the English Channel, France will charter two additional ships, the General Secretariat for the Sea announced on Wednesday. This maritime route is particularly used by migrants wishing to reach the United Kingdom.
They were more than 40,000 this year.
France will charter two additional ships in the English Channel to carry out rescue operations on this maritime route taken by a record number of migrants wishing to reach the English coast, the General Secretariat for the Sea announced on Wednesday. More than 40,000 migrants have arrived in United Kingdom this year after crossing this sea route in small boats, a record and a subject that has plagued Franco-British relations for several years.
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"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 rescue system at sea in the coming weeks", indicated in a press release. this organization placed under the authority of Matignon.
The arrival of the cold
This reinforcement "is based first of all on the chartering of two additional ships 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.
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The organization justified these additional means and the timing of the announcement by "the arrival of colder weather" and "possibilities of serious accidents" which "increase for migrants who use nautical means putting them in danger on the world's busiest sea route".
The use of drones
"The device will see in a second time the arrival of aerial drones, which will participate in a better understanding in real time of the maritime situation, in particular during attempts to cross several boats simultaneously", underlines one in the press release.
The announcement comes a year after the death of at least 27 migrants on November 24, 2021 when their boat sank, the worst tragedy recorded in the Channel.
In mid-November, the newspaper Le Monde, which claims to have consulted elements of the judicial inquiry carried out in Paris into this tragedy, affirmed that the shipwrecked people called the French maritime authorities fifteen times to ask for help, in vain.
In a telephone conversation with these maritime authorities, of which AFP became aware, a migrant said: "Help please (...) I'm 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.