PARIS: France will tighten security at its northern ports and increase surveillance along beaches to counter the rise in migrants trying to cross the English Channel to reach Britain, its interior minister said on Friday.
More than 500 migrants, mostly Iranian, tried to cross the narrow stretch of water, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, during 2018, French interior ministry data showed.
Some 276 migrants reached British waters while the French authorities thwarted the attempts of another 228.
More than 80 per cent of the crossings were attempted in December.
“This action plan must enable us to put an end to these crossings of the Channel which are not only illegal but also dangerous,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a statement.
British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said HMS Mersey, a Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel, was deploying to the Dover-Calais straits to stem the flow of migrants. The waterway is just 33.8 km wide at its narrowest point.
Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019