More than 250 people detected in small boats after rupture in Channel crossings

Some 254 people were detected in small boats crossing the English Channel to the UK on Sunday after an 11-day break from such trips.

The figure was confirmed by the UK government as more people thought to be migrants were brought to Dover on the Bank Holiday Monday.

There is believed to have been an 11-day break in activity around the English Channel from April 20-30, when no crossings were recorded amid reports of strong winds and rough seas.

A group of people arrive in Dover on a lifeboat on Monday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Updating its figures for Sunday, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that 254 migrants had been detected in seven small boats.

On Monday morning, more people believed to be migrants were pictured on the Dover lifeboat following what was thought to be a small boating incident in the English Channel.

The Ministry of Defense took control of migrant operations in April when the British government also announced controversial plans to send some of those making the cross-Channel journey to Rwanda.

The UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill – dubbed the Anti-Refugee Bill by campaigners because it makes it a criminal offense to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and includes the power to deal with applicants asylum abroad – became law on Thursday.

Last month, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed what she described as a “world first” with Rwanda.

The deal will see the East African nation receive asylum seekers deemed ineligible by the UK who have arrived ‘illegally’ under new immigration rules, but it has been criticized and is already facing legal challenges.

(PA graphics)

Sunday’s figures mean that at least 6,947 people have reached the UK since the start of the year after sailing busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

This is more than three times the amount recorded at this time last year (2,004) and more than six times the figure for the same period in 2020 (1,006).

Typically, there can be periods of days or weeks without migrant crossings, often depending on weather conditions.

Two longer intervals of 16 and 13 days without passage were recorded earlier this year, before the announcement of the agreement with Rwanda.

The longest period without any crossings so far in 2022 was 16 days, between January 27 and February 11, according to the Palestinian Authority’s analysis of British government figures.