Saturday, December 4

Calais: what we know about the sinking of migrants in the English Channel

On the evening of Wednesday, November 24, 27 migrants lost their lives off Calais, in the English Channel, in the sinking of a boat, heading for England.

Having left Dunkirk (Nord), the semi-rigid boat was said to have been struck by a cargo ship off Calais (Pas-de-Calais).

Among the victims, originally from the Middle East, were 17 men, seven women and three children, who only survived in the cold waters.

Two survivors, an Iraqi and a Somali, were also in “severe hypothermia” yesterday, but their condition was “a little better today,” said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Five smugglers arrested

After going there Tuesday evening, Gérald Darmanin had declared that “the first responsibility was that of these criminals who are the smugglers”. Four suspected individuals were arrested in the late afternoon on suspicion of having a connection with the tragedy.

Later that night, a fifth smuggler was arrested, with “a German license plate” in his possession, the minister said before adding that the suspect had “bought zodiacs in Germany”.

Paris and London are getting organized

Faced with such a tragedy, the deadliest since 2018, Emmanuel Macron expressed his “compassion” to the families of the victims. Not wishing to see the Channel “become a cemetery”, the Head of State called for “the immediate strengthening of the resources of the Frontex agency at the external borders” of the European Union.

For its part, the British government has offered France joint police patrols on the French coast along the Channel. British Immigration Secretary of State Kevin Foster also stressed that London was ready to offer “additional resources” to France, beyond its financial aid.

Organized tributes

While around fifty people gathered near the port of Calais, in tribute to the 27 deceased migrants, other events will take place this Thursday. Also in Calais, a “circle of silence” will be held at 6.30 pm.

A rally is also organized at the initiative of Utopia 56, an association to help migrants, Place de la République, at 8 p.m. in Paris.

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