More than 870 migrants crossed the Channel crammed into FIFTEEN small boats yesterday – the highest number in a single day so far in 2023 – as this year’s total figure nears 21,000

More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel on Saturday in just 15 boats, the highest number on a single day so far this year.

The latest provisional Government data shows that some 872 migrants made crossings, an average of 58 per boat, taking the total for the year to 20,973.

The previous high for 2023 was when 756 people made the crossing on August 10.

It comes after the average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat hit a new monthly high in August, when some 5,369 people made the journey in 102 boats, an average of around 53 migrants per vessel.

This was the highest monthly average since records began in 2018, according to analysis of provisional Government data.

The latest provisional Government data shows that some 872 migrants made crossings on Saturday, taking the total for the year to 20,973

RNLI officials escort 50 migrants into Dover Docks, Kent on Saturday

RNLI officials escort 50 migrants into Dover Docks, Kent on Saturday

The second highest average of 52 was recorded in July when 3,299 people made the journey in 63 boats. 

The third highest average of 49 was reached in June when 78 boats carried 3,823 people in a month. 

Pictures from the Channel show increasingly precarious boats being sent into one of the world’s most dangerous shipping lanes as human smugglers continue to show a disregard for life. 

Dozens of people are packed into one tiny dinghy as they sit on the sides, back and front of the boat, many with their legs dangling in the sea. 

The total number of asylum seekers and migrants who have reached the UK via small boats in 2023 is around 20 per cent down on this time last year when more than 25,000 people had already made the journey. 

But that was in a far drier summer than this year, which has seen far more thunderstorms and rainy weather, limiting the number of days when boats can make the journey. 

Earlier this month, six people died after a boat carrying people towards the UK capsized in the middle of the Channel.

Both French and British assistance rushed to the scene, with many of those onboard being returned to France. 

A total of 59 people were saved from the boat in a massive rescue operation involving five French ships, two British shops and a helicopter. 

Most of those onboard, and all six who died, were Afghan nationals. 

CEO of the Refugee Council Enver Solomon said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the sinking of a boat in the English Channel this weekend. 

‘Our hearts go out to the victims, survivors, and their loved ones. We also thank the rescuers who helped save many lives under harrowing circumstances.

‘This heartbreaking incident underscores the need for meaningful action to reduce dangerous Channel crossing. We know that the increasing number of people risking their lives to cross the Channel is a direct consequence of safe routes being so limited and ineffective. 

‘But instead of putting in place more safe pathways and treating those seeking refuge with compassion and fairness, the Government is focusing on passing expensive and unworkable legislation and shutting down existing safe ways to get to the UK.

‘People flee persecution and violence out of desperation, to find safety and protect their families. 

‘The Government must take action now and respond in a compassionate way to prevent future tragedies and protect human life.’

This is a breaking news story and is being updated. 

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