‘At least 27 people have drowned in the English Channel attempting to cross in a small boat. There were three children, seven women, one of whom was pregnant, and 17 men. Although a joint search and rescue operation was seemingly launched in the narrow maritime area between the UK and France (which is only 20 miles wide), the highly equipped authorities of both coastal states were not able to intervene in time to save the victims. The British government has responded to these deaths by calling on France to take back anyone who attempts the crossing. Speaking in parliament following the tragedy, Home Secretary Priti Patel placed heavy emphasis on the French government’s responsibility for the tragedy, which she said was “not a surprise”.
Regardless of how these people got there, the UK has clear legal responsibilities to anyone who finds themselves in trouble in the Channel. However much French authorities bolster their own efforts, the UK is obliged by multiple international conventions to maintain robust search and rescue operations in the area.’
EIN Blog, 26th November 2021