Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 300,450; Deaths at Sea: 3,501

Italy - IOM reports that 300,450 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 21 September, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. Some 166,050 people have arrived in Greece and 130,567 in Italy during 2016.

Totals in 2015 through the entire month of September last year were 518,181 – nearly 50 percent higher than 2016’s totals, with slightly over a week remaining in September.

Deaths, however, are considerably higher than last year’s total of 2,887 on this date. According to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, this year they stand at 3,501, with reports arriving yesterday of the latest tragedy off Egypt.

IOM’s Rome office reported that the shipwreck occurred Wednesday off the Egyptian coast, where a boat carrying between 400 and 450 migrants capsized. The total number of migrants on board may not be clear until more testimony can be gathered from survivors. But IOM’s sources in the region say it is likely to have been lower than the 600 initially reported.

Estimates of the 400 or more men, women and children on the voyage is derived from Egyptian coastguard sources, who say they rescued 163 migrants and recovered 51 bodies (among them at least 10 women and one baby). This would leave as many as 240 unaccounted for or “presumed missing.” Normally in such situations, “missing” migrants are presumed drowned, their remains never recovered.

This brings IOM’s estimated death toll from this latest shipwreck to between 285 and 300 persons. That figure, together with the 3,213 IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported as Mediterranean fatalities earlier this week would bring to over 3,500 the total fatalities on the Mediterranean in 2016. This is almost as many as all of 2015, and at least 200 more than died during all of 2014.

Since 2013, the IOM Missing Migrants Project estimates that at least 10,000 migrants and refugees have perished in the Mediterranean. Well over half of those casualties occurred on the so-called Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Italy.

Through mid-September this year some 2,765 deaths had been reported on this route. With this week’s additional fatalities the total will be over 3,000 or nearly 90 percent of all Mediterranean fatalities in 2016.

IOM understands that the vessel left Egypt from Damietta and stopped 12 miles off the coast of Burg Rashid, when it started to take on other migrants. The boat was almost certainly headed to Italy.

IOM’s Flavio di Giacomo in Rome said: “The Egyptian route is used mainly by migrants coming from Eastern African countries – Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan – and some coming from the Middle East. We do not know how many Syrians were on board, but generally speaking the number of Syrian arrivals has sharply decreased. It was 577 as of August 31st compared to 6,710 at the end of August 2015.”

“Entire families, children, and young people entrusted their lives to human smugglers, and risked everything aboard an unseaworthy boat that capsized and sank,” said ÏOM Egypt Head of Office Amr Taha.  “IOM remains at the disposal of the Government of Egypt to provide any support needed and stands ready to also support the rescued migrants and their families,” he added.

IOM Egypt further reported Egyptian authorities had rescued among the survivors 111 Egyptians, 26 Sudanese, 13 Eritreans, two Somalis, one Syrian and one Ethiopian national. IOM Egypt said at least 42 of the bodies recovered were Egyptians.

“We urge the parliament to pass the new anti-human smuggling law, which should be a strong deterrent for smugglers. The law safeguards the rights and addresses the needs of smuggled migrants, as well as stipulating imprisonment and substantial fines for smugglers and their accomplices.  Punishment amounts to life imprisonment and fines above USD 25,000 when smuggling results in the death or disability of migrant women or children, or when links to organized crime and terrorism are substantiated,” Taha added.

Also Thursday IOM Athens reports that 2,216 migrants and refugees landed on Greek islands through the first 14 days of September – a daily average of 105 men, women and children. That number is consistent with the daily average number of arrivals during August, when 3,429 migrants and refugees entered Greece by sea.

or latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, 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:
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103-8720, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel +216 29 600389, Email:  or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216297 94707, Email:
Amr Taha at IOM Egypt. Tel: +202-27365140, Email:

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