The Decathlon group has announced that it will stop selling kayaks in its stores in northern France, after several migrants tried to use them to reach England.
The purchase of kayaks will no longer be possible at the Decathlon stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe near Dunkirk, a Decathlon spokesperson told AFP. However, the group said it will continue to sell the boats online and in other stores. The spokesperson also announced that the brand will soon offer safety equipment such as life jackets and thermal protection. An announcement that comes in the midst of the migration crisis and in the face of numerous accidents at sea involving the kayaks of the sports equipment retailer.
Canoes used to cross the English Channel
The French company is concerned about the increase in the number of attempts to cross into England with its nautical equipment, initially intended for sports use. The voice of the North reports that “The recent increase in crossing attempts has caused [les] Decathlon Calais teams to consider the position to adopt with respect to the sale of products that may be diverted from their sporting use and serve as vessels to cross the Canal “ This is what would have led to the sign. “In consultation with the teams” watch “Do not authorize the purchase of boats – including kayaks – that could endanger people’s lives. “ True to its vision of sport and life, Decathlon is committed to “Never put [ses] customers at risk when using [leurs] products, whatever the circumstances. ”
A decision that takes into account the current crisis context
The sports firm’s decision comes a week after thousands of people, along with their children, were seen crossing the English Channel. Among them, several are said to have used boats to reach UK beaches, rekindling tensions between France and London over the issue of the migration crisis.
The UK Home Office confirmed on Thursday that at least 1,185 people had arrived in the UK in small boats, a record. Before them, almost 850 people had already crossed the Canal since the beginning of the month.
Multiple reports testify to the disappearance of some migrants during their journey, including several who tried to leave France by canoe. Two kayaks were found adrift last Friday after three people were reported missing. The Guardian reports that two castaways were rescued by the gendarmerie, the third, him, has yet to be found.
The Coast Guard has found several castaways in recent weeks and continues to warn anyone attempting to cross not to do so, as the strong currents of the Channel make it extremely dangerous.
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