On Saturday morning, seven migrants in difficulty were first rescued off Dunkirk by a customs coastguard boat, according to a first press release released on Saturday by the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea (Premar).

Two rescue operations were then carried out overnight from Saturday to Sunday, and three others during the day on Sunday, still coordinated by the Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) Gris-Nez, Premar said on Sunday. A total of 217 migrants were rescued in these operations.

Nearly 1,000 migrants arrived on the English coast on Saturday after crossing the Channel, according to British government figures.

They are now nearly 40,000 since the start of the year – already far more than for the whole of 2021 – to have made the perilous crossing aboard small boats, which are generally overloaded.

This maritime sector “is one of the busiest areas in the world”, “with more than 400 commercial ships passing through it per day” and “often difficult” weather conditions, regularly reminds Premar.

More than 200 people have died or gone missing, at sea or on land, trying to reach England from the northern coast of France since 2014, including 27 in a single day at the end of 2021 in a shipwreck, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).