Channel crossings: Average number of migrants per boat for July hits record high

The average of around 52 migrants per vessel is the highest since records began in 2018.

Flora Thompson
Wednesday 02 August 2023 07:24 BST
The average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat last month was the highest on record, figures show (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat last month was the highest on record, figures show (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

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The average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat last month was the highest on record, figures show.

Some 3,299 people made the journey in July in 63 boats – an average of around 52 migrants per vessel.

This is the highest average since records began in 2018, according to PA news agency analysis of Government data.

The third highest average (47) was reached in October last year when 147 boats carried 6,900 people in a month.

Provisional Home Office figures show 14,732 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year. But no arrivals have been recorded in nearly a week amid poor weather conditions at sea.

The 2023 total to date is 10% lower than the 16,434 recorded from January to July last year.

The figures come as plans to move asylum seekers on to a giant barge on the Dorset coast have been beset by delays.

Facing questions on Sky News, transport minister Richard Holden said he “can’t put a timeframe” on when migrants will board the Bibby Stockholm in Portland.

The Home Office was due to send the first group of people to the accommodation on Tuesday, but, according to The Times, there were serious fire safety concerns about the facility.

The Guardian later reported that the arrival date had been pushed back to Wednesday to give more time for final inspections.

But Government sources later suggested that it may not be until next week to avoid new services beginning close to the weekend as working practices for port workers have to be signed off for the Health and Safety Executive.

Downing Street said final preparations are under way this week.

Speaking at a beer festival in west London, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told broadcasters : “All migrant accommodation has to go through a series of checks and inspections to make sure it complies with regulation, that’s what’s happening in this case.”

Meanwhile, media reports cited sources warning Border Force is braced for a surge in Channel crossings in August amid fears that beach patrols could be scaled back while French police officers take time off work.

But the French government has assured the Home Office that patrols funded by the UK Government under a multimillion-pound deal earlier this year will not be affected, The Times said.

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