Dover strait recovery operations
Since 2018, the Dover strait has become a maritime crossing point for many people in distress who attempt to cross to England on makeshift boats. The Prefet Maritime de la Manche is responsible for the safety of those attempting the crossing. He has various means at his disposal, including the Abeille Languedoc, which is very regularly called upon for escorts and recovery operations.
In 2020, more than 2,000 people were recovered by state resources, and the summer of 2021 set a sad record with almost 300 people recovered in less than three months by the Abeille Languedoc alone. The nautical means on which the crossing attempts take place have changed: as with the departure from Libya, the boats are now specifically made for this traffic, with ever greater carrying capacities. There are now up to 100 people per boat.
The crews of the Abeille commit their professionalism to this mission. They provide assistance to ever larger groups, including women and children, in sometimes very complicated situations. It is not uncommon for the crew to provide emergency medical assistance on board: hypothermia, injuries, extreme fatigue. They are also confronted with stressful situations due to the uncertainties surrounding the identity and motives of these people, as well as the current health situation.
Mobilised to save human lives at sea, the entire Les Abeilles team adapts and works together to ensure that these operations take place in the best possible conditions. The rapid evolution of the number of people attempting the crossing represents a challenge for us, which we will have to respond to with the appropriate means in the short term.