flip franssen

First attempt by migrants to reach UK by small boat from Belgium

The news that for the first time migrants attempting to make for the UK by boat were discovered on a Flemish beach is leading people to wonder whether people smugglers are moving their activities to Belgium.  Attempts to reach the UK by boat from France are on the increase, but patrols too have become more frequent.  Belgium could be a softer option!

In 2019 173 small boats with migrants attempted to reach the UK from France.  On average there were 11 people on board every boat.  So far stowing away on a lorry has been the choice way for undocumented people to get to the UK, but checks in Calais and Zeebrugge have become more intensive, e.g. with the use of heat cameras.

In 2018 the first attempts by small boat started. Britain and France are now patrolling the North Sea on the look-out for such migrants.  Today people-smugglers have the challenge of avoiding French maritime police. The events of Tuesday may suggest that the traffickers are now moving their activities to Belgium in order get round the French patrols.  Tuesday’s attempt clearly failed, but the fact the migrants were equipped with self-made life jackets shows how desperate they are and desperate people are unlikely to give up at the first attempt.  Story to be continued.

Top stories