Channel migrant crossings hit new daily record for 2023 as 872 people cross on 15 small vessels

3 September 2023, 14:28 | Updated: 3 September 2023, 14:34

More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday,
More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday,. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Nearly 900 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday, the highest number on a single day so far this year.

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Some 872 people crossed on 15 small vessels - an average of around 58 people per boat - according to new figures provided by the government.

The cumulative number of arrivals by small boats in 2023 now stands at a provisional total of 20,973.

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

A group of migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat
A group of migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat. Picture: Alamy

The total for the year so far is still lower than this time last year, when 25,000 people had already made the journey.

The record high for a single day since current records began in 2018 is still 1,295 on August 22 2022.

Saturday's arrivals mean 1,172 people made the journey so far this week with crossings recorded on just two out of six days, after 300 migrants arrived on Tuesday.

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Figures will be published on Monday for any crossings which took place on Sunday.

Total arrivals last year were 45,774, compared with the previously documented 45,755, according to the latest available Home Office data.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.

“Our priority is to stop the boats, and our Small Boats Operational Command is working alongside our French partners and other agencies to disrupt the people smugglers.

“The government is going even further through our Illegal Migration Act which will mean that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

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 in 102 boats - an average of around 53 migrants per vessel.

This was the highest monthly average since records began in 2018, analysis suggests.

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