Extremely peaceful seas trigger surge in migrant crossings

The boats were intercepted and groups of mainly men were seen on the Border Force vessels Hurricane and Ranger as they were brought into the Port of Dover throughout the day.

According to onlookers, as many as 300 people were recovered from six dinghies –but figures have yet to be confirmed. It comes after the Home Office revealed 113 migrants were picked up at sea on Sunday, packed into just two dinghies.

And on Saturday, 872 were found in 15 dinghies – a record day so far this year – with an average of 58 on board each inflatable. The previous record day for 2023 was August 10 when 756 migrants in 14 boats were picked up.

Figures show a total of 21,086 have been intercepted making the perilous crossing in 436 boats in 2023. In August alone, 5,369 arrived using 102 boats.

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In 2022, a record 45,755 migrants were detained compared with 28,526 in 2021 and 8,410 in 2020. The Home Office said: “The unacceptable number of people risking their lives in these crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.

“Our priority is to stop the boats, and our Small Boats Operational Command is working alongside our French partners and other agencies to disrupt smugglers.

“The Government is going even further through our Illegal Migration Act, which will mean that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”

Bad weather hampered people smuggling operations earlier in the summer and numbers are slightly down on last year.

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Speaking last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the migrant crisis was “ridiculous” and he was delivering on his vow to “stop the boats”.

He said: “For the first time this year, crossings are down – about 15 percent versus last year. That’s the first time that has happened since the small boats crisis emerged. That shows that the plan is working.”

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