Another 44 migrants are caught crossing the English Channel

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Another 44 migrants are caught crossing the English Channel one day after four tried to get to UK using windsurf boards with shovels as oars

  • The 44 migrants, mostly men, were rescued from three boats at 11am today
  • One vessel had 13 refugees, another had 15 while the third was holding 16
  • The crossings come a day after 40 people in three boats arrived in the UK

Another 44 migrants were today picked up in small boats off the Kent coast – meaning nearly 2,000 migrants have now reached Britain this year.

They were rescued in three boats this morning and were seen being taken into the Port of Dover by the Border Force vessel Seeker around 11am.

One vessel is thought to have been carrying 13 refugees, another 15 and the third was holding 16. The migrants were mostly men.

A breeze and a drop in temperatures at sea mean they would have been very cold as they made the trip across the perilous Dover Strait shipping lane.

The crossings – which come a day after 40 people in three boats arrived in the UK – will take the year’s total to 1,980, eclipsing the 1,850-odd who landed in the whole of 2019.

Some 44 migrants were rescued in three boats this morning and were seen being taken into the Port of Dover by the Border Force vessel Seeker around 11am

One vessel is thought to have been carrying 13 refugees, another 15 and the third was holding 16

One vessel is thought to have been carrying 13 refugees, another 15 and the third was holding 16

A breeze and a drop in temperatures at sea mean they would have been very cold as they made the trip

A breeze and a drop in temperatures at sea mean they would have been very cold as they made the trip

Of that figure, 1,609 have illegally crossed the Channel since lockdown.

So far in June, 250 migrants have reached Britain by boat – including a record single-day figure of 166 last week.

On Wednesday, four migrants were dramatically rescued three miles off the French coast – after they tried to paddle across the Channel on two windsurf boards tied together with rope and using shovels as oars. 

The group, who were picked up by a French patrol boat at 6.35am after attempting the crossing in a make-shift vessel, had used shovels as oars.

They were picked up around three-miles from the Calais coast after being spotted in difficulty by the crew of cross-channel ferry Dunkirk Seaways. 

A Prefecture de Maritime spokesman said: ‘Arriving in the area at 6.45am the VCSM Escaut took charge of the four shipwrecked people and their boats in tow.

Four migrants were rescued by French authorities in the Channel yesterday after they tried to paddle from France on two windsurf boards tied together with rope

Four migrants were rescued by French authorities in the Channel yesterday after they tried to paddle from France on two windsurf boards tied together with rope

‘They were actually two interconnected “windsurfing” boards, which they tried to propel with shovels as oars.’   

The four men were taken to Dunkirk suffering from mild hypothermia, where they were taken in by the border police. 

The latest crossings will nudge this year’s tally closer to the 2,000 mark. Of the figure, 1,525 have illegally made it to Britain since lockdown began in March. Last month 741 reached the UK – a record for a single month.

The staggering milestone is a body blow to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has repeatedly vowed to clamp down on crossings since taking up her post last year.

The Home Office has pumped millions of pounds into security measures to prevent migrant crossings from France, funding drones to patrol the country’s coastline – but the crisis has continued to worsen.

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