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English channel migrant crossings prompt a security rethink

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Author: Gregory Katz

The six Iranian men were discovered on a beach in Kent along with a rigid-hulled inflatable boat they are believed to have travelled in from France, British officials said. Border agents were called to the beach on Sunday morning.

The men received medical checks and were turned over to immigration officials for processing.

Javid said he cut short an overseas holiday because of the growing number of such incidents. On Christmas Day, about 40 migrants were rescued while traveling from northern France to southern England in a number of small inflatable craft.

He warned that it was only a matter of time before people died in the water and declared the crossings to be a “major incident,” a designation that allows the government to quickly mobilise various agencies.

The crossing is risky because of rough seas and a high volume of commercial and ferry traffic. It is often extremely difficult for the captains of large cargo ships to see and avoid small inflatable boats with a handful of people on board.

British officials blame organised crime gangs for the recent surge in migrants being launched toward England. Channel crossings were not a major problem in recent years but started to increase in November.

Many of the boats are leaving from the area around Calais, a French port city that has long been a magnet for migrants fleeing conflict or poverty in Africa and the middle east.

French officials two years ago closed a makeshift camp that swelled to a population of 10,000 at one point as people waited to try to hop trucks taking rail ferries or trains to England.

Source: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/europe/english-channel-migrant-crossings-prompt-a-security-rethink-20181231-p50oy8.html

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