Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 1,476 in 2018; Deaths Reach 192

Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants, Refugee and Asylum Issues

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 1,476 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 11 January, with around 600 each landing in Italy and Greece and the remainder in Spain. This compares with almost an identical number – 1,159 – coming ashore during a similar period in 2017.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré cited Libyan Coast Guard sources Wednesday (9 January) who reported that up to 100 migrants remain missing in the third deadly shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea since last Saturday (6 January). Now, less than midway through January there already are reports of close to 200 migrants or refugees dead or missing on the Central Mediterranean route.
By contrast, IOM recorded just 26 migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea lanes during the month of December 2017, at a time when Mediterranean migrant deaths were dropping sharply.
IOM reported on Tuesday 9 January that a total of 81 Mediterranean Sea deaths of migrants or refugees were recorded in the first eight days of the year. Five of those deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco. The rest – 76 with a possibility of many more – were recorded in the waters between Italy and Libya.
In the latest incident on the Central Mediterranean route, on Tuesday, three rubber boats with 279 migrants (19 women, 243 men, 13 boys and four girls) were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, whose rescue operation lasted at least 12 hours.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, was present at their disembarkation point in Tripoli and provided food and water to all survivors. According to survivors’ testimonies, around 100 migrants remain missing.
Survivors told IOM the boats departed from near the Libyan coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums. The majority of the survivors came from African countries including The Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria. The Libyan Coast Guard reported that seven survivors are from Bangladesh (one woman) while two are from Pakistan.
“It’s very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen more than 700 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast with more lives lost at sea,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route.”
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia said Thursday that over the last three days the Hellenic Coast Guard reported three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued a combined 109 migrants and transferred them to these respective islands.
Almost 200 migrants came ashore at Lesvos, Samos and Chios islands on New Year’s Day, and another 250 over the following five days.
Italy and Greece arrivals this year continue a trend that began in 2017, when migrant arrivals along the Mediterranean Sea’s Central and Eastern routes hit their lowest levels in four years. (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (11/01) that the arrivals to Spain from 1 January until are 497, out of which 285 arrived by sea and 212 by land, that is, to Spain’s Melilla enclave in North Africa.
IOM Spain also sent the final figures of irregular migrant arrivals in 2017, as reported by the Spanish Ministry of Interior (see chart below):

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) in Berlin reported that in the Western Mediterranean 43 migrants were rescued from a sinking boat on 9 January. The remains of three people were recovered from that vessel. According to testimonies of survivors, an estimated eight people remain missing and are presumed dead. Total fatalities on this route through 11 days this year now stand at 16.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrant Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 203 people during migration in the first ten days of 2018, compared with 40 at this point in 2017.
Deaths recorded in the Mediterranean so far in 2018 total 192 – compared with 12 through the first ten days of 2017.
Within Europe one young man died on 9 January while trying to migrate: he was hit by a truck in the A16 motorway near Calais, France.
On the US-Mexico border, the skeletal remains of two migrants were found on 8 January within Texas ranch land near the US Border Patrol Falfurrias checkpoint.
In the Caribbean, the bodies of four Venezuelan migrants were found in a beach in Koraal Tabak, Curaçao, on 10 January.  Additionally, the Missing Migrant Project recorded the first death this year in South America: three Cuban migrants (two men and a woman) died in a vehicle accident in a motorway near Santa Vitória do Palmar, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on 1 January. They were reportedly on their way to the city of Chuy, at the border with Uruguay.  That brings total fatalities in the Americas through 10 days this year to 10, compared to 12 last year at this same time (see chart below).

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