The rising number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats has been declared a “major incident” by the UK home secretary.
Sajid Javid has asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart about the situation.
The Home Office said there was “concern that it is only a matter of time before people lose their lives”.
It comes after at least 221 migrants have attempted to cross the Channel to England since the start of November.
Most recently, 12 people were detained off the coast of Dover in the early hours of Friday morning.
Officials on both sides of the Channel have warned of the dangers of crossing what is the world’s busiest shipping lane in a small boat. Police have likened the journey to trying to “cross the M25 at rush-hour on foot”.
In a statement, the Home Office said Mr Javid had “taken control of the response” to the situation.