Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 60,521 in 2017; Deaths: 1,530

Switzerland  - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 60,521 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 24 May, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 193,333 arrivals across the region through 21 May 2016. 

IOM Rome reported that, through 24 May this year, 50,267 migrants or refugees have landed in Italy (See chart below), however that does not include all the men, women and children who are believed to have been rescued over the past 48 hours.

IOM spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported Friday (26 May) that the unofficial number of migrants rescued Thursday is around 2000, indicating that a total number of survivors rescued between Tuesday and Thursday would be close to 6,000, all believed to have sailed from Libya.

Mr. Di Giacomo further explained that the balance of some 4,129 migrants rescued on Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to land in Italian ports during the day today, Friday. He added that a week ago, on Friday 19 May, a dinghy carrying 130 migrants that had departed from Sabratha, Libya, passed another dinghy in distress and took on four people at sea, all Nigerians, who had been struggling to stay afloat. The four survivors reported that they had departed from Tripoli a few hours earlier. According to their testimony, at least 156 fellow passengers were on that craft, and died at sea---including dozens of women and children.

He also reported that on Thursday (25 May) a wooden boat carrying approximately 500 people capsized. A day later IOM is reporting the remains of 34 people have been recovered from that sinking. It is still not known how many more may have died in that incident.

These deaths being to at least 1,530 recorded on the Mediterranean in 2017, all but 82 in the waters between Libya and Sicily.  IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports last year at this time 982 migrants or refugees were reported lost in these waters, out of a total of 1,398 believed lost along three Mediterranean crossing routes.

While today’s 1,530 fatalities exceed last year’s Mediterranean totals at the same point in time, they are not the greatest reported on this route. Through the end of May 2015, MMP reported 1,828 men, women and children had perished on the Mediterranean Sea.  Although not yet added to the Missing Migrants Project data base, IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on 23 May, 230 migrants were rescued off Az Zawiyah, and in another rescue mission, also in Az Zawiyah, 96 migrants (86 men and 10 women) were rescued.

On the same day, 120 migrants (113 men and seven women) were rescued off Tajoura, close to the capital Tripoli.  In addition,  she reported, that same day two bodies were retrieved in Az Zawiyah and Tripoli.

On 25 May, about 110 migrants were rescued off Az Zawiyah, IOM planned a visit to the site late on Thursday to find out more about the most urgent needs.

So far in 2017, 6,453 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast and 228 bodies have reportedly been retrieved off shore.

These latest deaths bring the worldwide total recorded by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) to reports that there have been 2,125 fatalities through 24 May (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total.

In addition to the nearly 200 new victims recorded in the Central Mediterranean this week, MMP recorded one death on the Pakistan-India border on May 15, and one on the Syria-Turkey border on May 18. 

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 HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:

Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:

Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:

Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:

Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: