Britain said it’s examining all options for stopping illegal immigrants from entering the Channel Tunnel after a Sudanese refugee almost succeeded in walking almost the full length of the 30-mile sub-sea link from France.
The government confirmed Friday that the situation remains under constant review following Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge last week to send additional resources to France to help end disruption to trains caused by would-be migrants trying to reach Britain via the tunnel’s southern portal outside Calais.
“We have and continue to consider all potential courses of action to improve security at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles and to prevent any loss of life,” Cameron’s office said in a statement. “A number of new security measures have been introduced and ministers both here and in France keep the situation under constant review.”
Tensions are running high following clashes between French police and migrants seeking to break through barriers and board U.K.-bound freight trains and vehicle shuttles. The British government has already allocated funds to improve fencing and deploy more police, guards and sniffer dogs as the disruption delays trucks and holiday makers during the peak travel season.
“We’re making progress, but there’s a lot more to do, including better security in the tunnel itself,” Cameron said in comments broadcast by Sky News. “Myself and the team of ministers I’ve put in place, we will oversee these improvements and they will take place in the coming weeks and days.”
Groupe Eurotunnel SE, which runs the tunnel and its shuttle trains, confirmed that a man from Sudan had walked close to the full length of the tunnel before being arrested by U.K. police.
“This intrusion into the Channel Tunnel is an extremely rare incident,” said Romain Dufour, a spokesman for Eurotunnel. “It is both illegal and highly dangerous. He could have been seriously injured or even killed.”
Eurotunnel said it had no knowledge of any plans to close the tunnel at night after the Daily Telegraph said that such a course of action was under discussion, and the U.K. government didn’t comment specifically.
Shuttle services are typically reduced by half overnight, together with a small number of freight services. Eurostar International Ltd. passenger expresses, which haven’t so far been affected by the migrant crisis, stop before midnight.