Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 13,355 in 2018; Deaths Reach 498

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 13,355 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 84 days of 2018, with about 46 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (32%) Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%).

This compares with 27,008 at this point in 2017, and with 163,895 at this point in March in 2016.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday that Italy has reported no new arrivals to ports for the past week. The 6,161 arrivals of irregular migrants by sea so far, this year are less than 30 per cent of the total in 2017, and about 42 per cent of the total at this time in 2016.

For the month of March, traditionally the start of the busiest season on the Mediterranean’s Central route, traffic is down to the lowest level at least since 2016. Last year during the first 25 days of March, 8,489 men, women and children arrived in Italy on this route; in 2016 the total for the first 25 days of March was 5,404.

This year’s monthly total – 914 arrivals – comes to just over 10 per cent of the 2017 total, and 17 per cent of 2016 (see chart below).


IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday that over the four days (21-24 March) the Hellenic Coast Guard informed IOM of at least two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos.

The Coast Guard rescued 128 migrants and transferred them to that island. Another 77 migrants reportedly landed on Lesvos, plus 32 on Leros, bringing total arrivals through 24 March to 4,215. In 2017, the total on the same date was 3,496 – making arrivals for the first three months of 2018 about 20 per cent heavier than was seen on this route than last year (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,932 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 24 March. That compares with 2,426 through all of March 2017.

The 498 deaths on the three Mediterranean Sea so far this year compare with 788 at this time in 2017, a decline of about 37 per cent year-on-year.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 789 deaths and disappearances during migration in 2018, or virtually the same total reported last year just for the Mediterranean (see chart below).

Most recently, the body of an unidentified African migrant was found washed up to the shore of Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday, 20 March.

Other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Friday’s update include three migrants in Southeast Asia. The three, from Myanmar, were killed while another eight were injured in a crash on 17 March in Tambon Ban Paeng, Thailand after their van hit a truck and caught fire.

On the US-Mexico border, where 55 migrant deaths have been recorded this year, a 35-year-old Honduran migrant was found dead Thursday after he drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo at Reynosa, Mexico.

The bodies of two migrants were found in Texas on March 15th – one on a ranch near Falfurrias, the other near Sarita, Texas.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile +216 28 78 78 05, Email: