Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 19,384, Deaths: 521

Switzerland - IOM reports that 19,384 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 5 March, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 138,524 through the first 65 days of 2016. 

IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reports that, according to Italian Ministry of Interior figures, in 2017 15,844 migrants arrived in Italy by sea as of 6 March. On March 5th, some 1,442 migrants were brought ashore by the Italian Coast Guard and the NGOs SOS Mediterranée and ProActiva Open Arms.

Di Giacomo added that according to testimony gathered in Lampedusa – where 178 migrants landed last Sunday – six people were lost during the sea crossing.  That brings the number of Mediterranean fatalities this year to 521 through March 5, compared to 471 at this point in 2016.

Kate Dearden of IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in Berlin reported Monday that since last Friday’s (3 March) report, IOM had recorded the following 48 fatalities in the Mediterranean. They included:
March 2:  The body of a man was recovered near Tarifa, Spain.
March 3:  A 16-year-old rescued at sea died on the Siem Pilot rescue ship.
March 3:  25 missing, with 115 survivors, off Tajoura, Libya.
March 4:  6 missing with 178 survivors, in the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

At the same time, Christine Petré of IOM Libya reports that on 3 March, 110 migrants (104 men and 6 women) were rescued off Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard, after their wooden boat started taking on water.

She said that 66 of the migrants were transferred to Triq Al Sekka detention centre, where IOM provided them with non-food aid, including blankets and hygiene kits. The other 44 were transferred to Triq Al Shook detention centre, where the NGO International Medical Corps provided emergency assistance.  She said the total number of migrants rescued off Libya so far this year is 2,650 men, women and children.

Among the rescued migrants taken to Triq Al Sekka detention centre were four women, who spoke with IOM. Still suffering from shock from the traumatic rescue operation, 20 year-old Aminata* (pseudonym), from Mali, explained her father died when she was young and that she came to Libya to earn money to support her mother and siblings. She had spent 10 months in Libya as a cleaner to get enough money to pay for a smuggling boat to Europe.

Near her sat one of the other rescued girls. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she explained that she lost her sister to the sea that day. Devastated, she didn’t know what would come next, fearing to return home empty handed, yet trapped at the detention centre with little hope for the future.

IOM’s Petré added: “There were reports of deaths (prior to the rescue), which we are following up. I have received information regarding dead migrants found in Subratah. It seems there was an exchange of fire between smugglers, which led to the death of 22 migrants.”

These last victims are counted with North Africa fatalities recorded by Missing Migrants (see chart, below), whose data today show a total of 782 fatalities since the beginning of the year. In addition to the growing death toll on the Mediterranean, Missing Migrants added 17 more deaths in the month of February along the US-Mexico border, due to the addition of monthly data from Pima County, Arizona, where historically remains of migrants are recovered by Border Patrol, local law enforcement and human rights investigators throughout the year. 2017’s recovery rate along the border is running close to one victim per day as winter ends – about 30 per cent ahead of last year. 

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 January 2016 - 5 March 2016 vs. 1 January - 5 March 2017










Middle East



North Africa



Horn of Africa



Sub-Saharan Africa



Southeast Asia



East Asia






Central America






South America






For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: 
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email:
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email:  or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email:  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: