Three boats carrying a total of 80 migrants hoping to reach Britain were rescued Friday after their makeshift vessels ran into trouble, France’s regional maritime authority said.
The first two boats, with 42 people aboard, were located off the coast near the fishing port of Boulogne-sur-Mer after they contacted the CROSS rescue coordination center.
A third boat issued a call for help near Dunkirk, and its 38 passengers were brought back to Calais.
The number of Channel crossing attempts by migrants has surged over the past two years, despite the risks of heavy shipping traffic and strong currents.
Earlier this month French police tore down a new camp housing hundreds of people, mostly young men, outside Calais, which has long been a magnet due to its busy ferry port and the Eurotunnel.
Last year more than 9,500 people crossed or attempted to cross the Channel to Britain from France, a fourfold increase from 2019.
Six people died in the attempts and three others were declared missing.