Frontex uses plane to monitor Channel activity amid migrant crisis

People sit next to a boat used to cross the English Channel after being rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) on a beach in Dungeness, England. / Ben Stansall / AFP

People sit next to a boat used to cross the English Channel after being rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) on a beach in Dungeness, England. / Ben Stansall / AFP

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, has deployed a plane to support French and Belgian authorities trying to spot illegal boat crossing activity. The move comes just a week after 27 people drowned when their dinghy deflated in the English Channel en route to the UK.

In a statement, Frontex said the plane, supplied by Denmark, had landed in Lille, in northern France, adding that the plane was fitted with modern sensors and radars to support land border control and maritime. The objective of the operation is to avoid the multiplication of sea crossings.

The director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, declared: “The evolution of the situation in the Channel is a matter of concern. At the request of member states, Frontex deployed an aircraft to France to support them with aerial surveillance in just three days.

He continued, “We are starting with an airplane, but we are ready to step up our support if necessary.”

The deployment was decided during a meeting Sunday in Calais between the French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin and some of his European counterparts, an event to which the British Minister of the Interior Priti Patel had been uninvited as a result of a letter from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson which angered Paris.

France and Britain are also currently at a major disagreement over post-Brexit trade rules and fishing rights.

Source (s): Reuters


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