Wednesday, December 1, 2021

In Northern France – Migrants in the English Channel: Decathlon stops sales of kayaks

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Numerous migrants take life-threatening dangers to cross the English Channel. They also set out on the dangerous route across the English Channel in kayaks. A sporting goods retailer has now reacted.

Because they could be used by migrants for their crossing to Great Britain, the sporting goods retailer Decathlon has stopped selling kayaks in the branches of two cities in the north of France. In the shops of Calais and Grande-Synthe, kayaks are no longer being sold “due to the current situation,” the Decathlon press office told the AFP news agency on Tuesday, thereby confirming reports in the local press.

The reason given was that the pleasure craft were unsuitable for crossing the English Channel and that people could endanger their lives if they tried anyway. Products that “increase safety at sea, such as vests, paddles or thermal protection” will continue to be sold in Calais and Grande-Synthe, added the press office. Accordingly, the suggestion to remove the kayaks from the offer had come from the shops themselves.

Three refugees who tried to cross the English Channel in kayaks have been missing since Friday. The day before, two kayaks floating off the coast of Calais were discovered and two castaways were rescued.

Between January and the end of September, almost 30,000 migrants tried to cross the English Channel into Great Britain. In the past few weeks the number of attempts, and with it the number of accidents, has increased significantly, which has increased tensions with the British government.

Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin and his British colleague Priti Patel said on Tuesday that they wanted to intensify their cooperation to end the “dangerous crossings”. On the same day, security forces cleared a wild refugee camp in Grande-Synthe, where more than 1,000 people lived. In addition, 272 people were rescued from the sea off the coast of France. They had tried to get to England by makeshift boats.

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