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InternationalHow Customs Officials in Bulgaria are Aiding the Crackdown on Dangerous Migrant...

How Customs Officials in Bulgaria are Aiding the Crackdown on Dangerous Migrant Boat Crossings to the UK


While the scenic English Channel lies over 2,500 km away, officials in Bulgaria are playing a key role in curbing the dangerous boat crossings originating on the French coast. Located at the Kapitan Andreevo border post, more than 150 km inland from the sea, customs officer Georgi Gospodinov has been carefully inspecting trucks for tell-tale signs of inflatable boats, outboard motors and life jackets that may be trafficked further into the EU.

In just over a year, their efforts have led to dozens of seizures that are directly helping authorities in Britain stem a surge in unauthorized migrant crossings. Working closely with their counterparts across Europe, officials in Bulgaria have left distinct markings on impoundedboat engines to link them to vessels later abandoned on British shores. This crucial evidence confirms the route being exploited by organized gangs.

Restrictions on such equipment imports have since been strengthened. At the checkpoint, a sniffer dog and advanced scanning aid the trained eyes of officers on the lookout. While smuggling networks adapt quickly, regular hauls indicate ongoing success in disrupting their operations. British officials recognize Bulgaria's contributions, providing funds for capacity building.

Cross-Channel arrivals topped 30,000 last year alone, with many losing their lives in the attempt. As smugglers look for new routes in response to police action, the need to address the complex humanitarian root causes driving irregular migration grows more urgent. By tracing the entire journey back to its origin, authorities are gaining valuable insights towards finding effective long-term solutions.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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