01 September 2023

Monthly average number of migrants per boat crossing Channel hits new high

01 September 2023

The average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat has hit a new monthly high, figures show.

Some 5,369 people made the journey in August in 102 boats – an average of around 53 migrants per vessel.

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

The averages for the past three months have each set a new record, reflecting indications that bigger boats are being used for crossings with larger numbers of people on board.

Pictures of some of Tuesday’s arrivals – when 300 people made the crossings in five boats at an average of around 60 people per boat – showed a dinghy packed with men and boys, some without lifejackets, perched on the sides while their legs dangled in the water.

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.

Some 20,101 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year. But no arrivals have been recorded for the last two days amid poor weather conditions at sea.

This is around 20% down on this time last year when more than 25,000 people had already made the journey.

Some 8,574 people were detected making the journey in the whole of August 2022, recently revised Home Office data shows.

According to separate Government figures, the total number of crossings for last year was higher than initially recorded.

The latest available Home Office data shows the figure now stands at 45,774, compared with the previously documented 45,755.

Earlier this week, Labour accused the Prime Minister of having “failed to get a grip” on Channel crossings as the 20,000 crossings in 2023 to date milestone was reached.

But Rishi Sunak continued to defend his “stop the boats” plan under questioning from broadcasters and insisted the Government was making progress and their efforts were “working”.

He previously played down suggestions that the lower number of crossings compared with last year was linked to poor weather conditions rather than policy decisions.

But this summer has seen more unsettled weather compared with last year when there was a spike in crossings in August.

While June 2023 was the warmest on record, July and August have been much more unsettled, with a sequence of low pressure bringing wind and rain.

Summer 2022 was the fourth warmest on record for the UK and the warmest on record for England, with heatwaves in each of the three months.

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