The Decathlon network told AFP that “it is no longer possible to buy a kayak” at Decathlon stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe near Dunkirk, “taking into account the current context” (migration crisis – Onet), confirming previous reports from local media.
The company said that the equipment obtained from these stores was not used for sporting purposes, but “could have been used to try to cross the English Channel” and in such cases “people’s lives were at stake”.
“The stores themselves decided to stop selling kayaks, and the headquarters agreed to the decision,” Decathlon announced.
The kayaks will still be available for purchase online and elsewhere. However, facilities in Calais and Grande Syntheny will still offer watersports equipment such as life jackets and heat suits.
On Friday, it was revealed that three migrants had disappeared after trying to cross the English Channel into the UK in a kayak, and the number of similar crossings is increasing.
Two boats were found floating off the coast of Calais on Thursday and two people were pulled from the water. Earlier on Tuesday, French police closed a large migrant camp that housed about 1,000 people hoping to reach Britain. Tensions remain high between London and Paris over the English Channel crossing.
A record number of migrants crossed the canal in small boats last Thursday – 1,185 people according to British figures – which the government called “unacceptable”.
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French Home Minister Gerald Darmanin spoke to his British counterpart Priti Patel on Monday, but previously gave a candid interview in which he said, among other things, that the UK should “stop using France as a boxing bag in its domestic policies”.
French authorities said they carried out 10 operations on Tuesday, rescuing 272 migrants who tried to cross the English Channel to England on makeshift boats, sometimes under extremely unfavorable conditions.
Emergency services said the rescued migrants were taken to the ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-Mer, where they were cared for by border police and firefighters.
Navy Commander Philippe Dautereau said that between January 1 and August 31, there were about 15.4000 migrants trying to bypass the dangerous passage across the English Channel, which was approx. It was saved and transported to the French shores.
In 2020, about 9.5 thousand crossed or tried to cross the English Channel, compared to 2.3 thousand. in 2019 and 600 in 2018.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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