Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Eleven suspected migrants intercepted on boat near English coast amid spike in Channel crossings

The UK home secretary will discuss the issue with her French counterpart

The UK border force, seen here in Dover's harbour, have picked up at least 37 migrants in recent days. Getty 
The UK border force, seen here in Dover's harbour, have picked up at least 37 migrants in recent days. Getty 

A boat carrying 11 suspected migrants has reportedly been intercepted by British authorities while trying to cross the Channel between the UK and France.

Sky News published footage of the incident on Friday, hours after the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel announced she would be holding talks with her French counterpart about a spike in Channel crossings in recent days.

In four separate incidents on Thursday, 37 migrants – including six children – were found near England’s south coast.

While a further 24 migrants, including seven minors, were rescued by the French coastguard near Dunkirk on France’s north coast, on the same day.

A spokesman for the UK Home Office said in a statement: "We continue to monitor the ongoing situation and are working closely at all levels with French authorities on the issue.

"The Home Secretary will raise this issue with her French counterpart in the coming days."

French maritime officials said the rise in Channel crossings had been encouraged by milder weather conditions.

Sources at Britain’s Home Office told AFP that the migrants intercepted by the British border force were from Iran, Guinea, Kuwait and the Ivory Coast.

Charlie Elphicke, the parliamentary representative for the English coastal town of Dover, warned on Thursday that action must be taken to prevent a tragedy.

“Day by day there are more arrivals from France by small boats across the Channel,” he wrote on Twitter.

“It’s clear it’s rapidly heading to a summer of chaos. Urgent action is needed by the French authorities to stop boats setting off from France before there is another tragedy.”

Updated: August 23, 2019 03:25 PM

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