Together with colleagues from Britain and France, German police officers are trying to put a stop to smugglers who procure inflatable boats and outboard motors in Germany for the transport of migrants.
“The federal police has information that inflatable boats, boat motors and life jackets purchased in Germany are also being used for boat smuggling from France to Britain,” the police said.
A British-German project started at the beginning of the year aims at gaining further knowledge about the supply chains and distribution channels for inflatable boats, which are used in particular for smuggling from France to Britain, according to an answer by the German government to a written question of opposition Bundestag member Clara Bünger seen by dpa.
The project is closely connected to a French-led operation called “Small Boats,” the Federal Ministry of the Interior added. This operation serves to dismantle smuggling gangs that bring migrants across the English Channel from France to Britain.
According to French police estimates, up to 90 per cent of the boats and engines for this purpose are bought in Germany and brought from there first to Belgium.
This is because in the north of France, an identity card must now be presented and a telephone number given when buying certain boats and boat engines.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said at a hearing in the National Assembly last December that there had been two attempted murders in the smuggling milieu in September and November: the first in Grand-Synthe in northern France, the second in in the German city of Osnabrück.
Prior to that, 12 suspects had been arrested following investigations into smuggling gangs in France, the Netherlands and Britain.
“The fact that Germany wants to participate in attempts to make it more difficult to sell rubber dinghies in order to prevent crossings from France to Britain via the English Channel in this way is, in my opinion, a completely wrong approach,” said Bünger, who is a member of the hard-left Die Linke (The Left) party.
In her view, the right approach would be to advocate for the creation of safe and legal escape routes – both to the EU and to Britain. (DPA)