Nearly 1200 people traversed the English Channel in small boats in one day to reach the UK from France, a new record high for migrant crossings in a single day that British authorities have labelled as “unacceptable.”
At least 1185 people reached the UK aboard 33 vessels on Thursday, Britain’s Home Office confirmed on Friday. That figure surpasses the previous high of 853 set earlier this month.
Lifeboat crews and Border Force boats were busy well into the evening in the Channel, the busiest shipping lane in the world, after spending hours intercepting boats throughout the day.
Despite their efforts, three people are feared lost at sea after two kayaks were found adrift off Calais in France.
In 2019, Home Secretary Priti Patel promised to make migrant crossings an “infrequent phenomenon” by spring 2020 and then pledged in August last year to “make this route unviable.”
During this time, the British government agreed to pay France millions of pounds to increase security on its northern coast.
Around 23,000 people have reached the UK in small boats this year, according to British news agency PA, nearly triple the 8417 the news agency recorded arriving in 2020.