London: More than 20,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel from France in small boats so far this year, government figures show.
The Ministry of Defence on Sunday said that some 607 were detected the previous day, the third time the total has topped 600 since the start of 2022, dpa news agency reported.
It takes the provisional total for the year to 20,017.
There were 28,526 crossings detected in 2021.
By this point last year, just over 11,300 crossings had been made.
There have been 3,618 crossings detected in August so far, with 1,694 in the past week, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The highest daily total for 2022 to date was recorded on August 1, when 696 people made the crossing in 14 boats.
Saturday’s 607 crossings also involved 14 boats — the equivalent of around 43 people per vessel.
A record 1,185 people made the crossing to the UK on November 11, 2021 — the highest number recorded since the start of 2020.
The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has increased steadily in recent years.
Some 299 were detected in 2018, followed by 1,843 in 2019, 8,466 in 2020 and 28,526 last year, official figures show.
Despite the growing numbers, the UK’s small boat arrivals are a fraction of the number of people going to continental Europe.
Data from the UN’s refugee agency shows that at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea in 2021.