Boat with Migrants Possibly Hit by Container Ship
On Wednesday, the boat carrying migrants that sank in the Channel between France and Britain may have been hit by a “large ship”. The local French broadcaster La Voix Du Nord reports that it may have been a container ship. The authorities have not yet reported anything about this.
Dozens of people died off the coast of Calais on one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. It is the deadliest incident to date involving migrants in the Channel. The exact number of deaths is not yet known. French President Emmanuel Macron previously spoke of at least 31 deaths, including women and children. That was later in the evening adjusted by the French authorities to 27 dead.
A fisherman reported on Wednesday that he had seen floating bodies, prompting the French coast guard to act. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said only two survivors had been rescued from the water so far, but they were not out of danger. The seawater is bitterly cold. The fatalities remain in Calais overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, where a hangar has been temporarily cleared for the bodies.
Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke by phone on Wednesday evening in response to the unprecedented drama. The two leaders want to do everything they can to prevent migrants from continuing to cross the Channel. A Johnson spokesman said that “we will work together to stop people smugglers”. He added that the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries would also have a role to play in combating the problem.
Macron had vowed earlier in the day that France would not allow the Channel to become a “cemetery”. Minister Darmanin reported that the French public prosecutor’s office is investigating in response to the drama on Wednesday. Four suspects have already been arrested who may be involved in human trafficking.
According to Darmanin, France is already doing a lot about the flow of migrants. For example, 1500 human traffickers have already been arrested this year, and hundreds of agents work daily along the northern French coasts. In addition, more than 47,000 attempts have been made by migrants to cross the Channel since the beginning of this year.