Refugee migrations to Europe: 1-15 October. Canary Islands peak!

Ann Trappers, 16 October 2020

October 1. It is reported that it has become a practice for French government boats to accompany migrant boats that are seaworthy until they arrive in British waters, after which they must be rescued by British boats. 80% of the crossers would thus successfully arrive in the UK, leading to criticism of the French authorities. The French Coast Guard defends itself by stating that it mainly wants to prevent people from leaving, but that saving lives is the priority once the refugees have started crossing the Channel.

October 1.  Europol arrested 12 Iranian people smugglers, with branches in the Netherlands, France and the UK, who were transferring refugees across the Channel to the UK at a rate of 3000 euro/attempt/person.

October 5.  MSF, Sea Watch, Open Arms and Mediterranea ask the Italian government not to block any longer the NGO-rescue ships in the Mediterranean. 

October 7-10.  Record number of migrants from Africa (Maghreb and sub-Sahara) arrived in the Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife). Over 1,000 people have crossed the Atlantic Ocean in small fishing boats via the coasts of Morocco or Mauritania in the past three days. This is the largest number in 15 years. Many of them have been rescued at sea. They were received with the necessary precaution by the Red Cross, all were tested for Corona.

October 10.  Libyan militias sympathizing with the Government of National Accord (al Serraj) are holding 60 migrants hostage (including 20 children) in terrible conditions on a former military base. Originally, they had kidnapped 350. Many have escaped. The people were all robbed. (Source: MSF) 

October 13.  Boat with 27 refugees from Africa sinks near Sfax (Tunisia): 7 people could be rescued,11 people are dead (8 women and 3 children) and 9 are missing.