Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 7,511 in 2018; Deaths Reach 390

Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants, Refugee and Asylum Issues

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 7,511 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first five weeks of 2018, with about 62 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece and Spain, both at roughly 19 per cent. This compares with 10,078 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

On Monday (05/02) IOM Rome reported Italy’s official Ministry of Interior figures indicate some 4,723 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, which is roughly a 45 per cent decline from the same period last year, when 8,427 arrivals were recorded.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported that over the previous four days, the Hellenic Coast Guard informed IOM of only one incident requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Rhodes, on 31 January. The Coast Guard rescued 30 migrants and transferred them to the island. Nine others arrived the same day on Kos – while no other landings were reported over the next three days.

Through Saturday (03/02) IOM reports just 1,501 irregular arrivals to Greece by sea, an average of just under 45 per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 1,503 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 5 February.

In the Western Mediterranean, the bodies of 17 migrants and refugees were pulled from the sea off the coast of Melilla, Spain on 3 February. The bodies were spotted on Saturday by a Spanish passenger boat, and sixteen of them were recovered by Moroccan authorities. One body was found in a separate location by a Spanish police boat and was taken to Melilla. Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras confirmed that 47 people were travelling on the boat when it capsized, therefore as many as 30 people remain missing. Among the victims of the tragedy are people from Mali, Guinea Conakry and Cote d'Ivoire.

Additionally, there has been more recent information that the Guardia Civil and Salvamento Maritimo have launched a search of another small boat in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar. A search began after the alert of a non-governmental organization, which reported about the presence of a boat near the Strait of Gibraltar.

According to the media agency EFE there were 10 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa travelling on this boat.

Since the start of December, the Western Mediterranean has been the deadliest of all Mediterranean routes, with over 100 deaths at sea over the past 10 weeks. Total deaths in the Mediterranean in 2018 now stand at 390 through 04 February, compared with 257 at this time last year.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 546 migrant fatalities in 2018. On the US/Mexico border, three migrants drowned when crossing the Río Bravo on 31 January. Their bodies were recovered at different locations in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. In Europe, Croatian authorities reported that they found the body of a man, believed to be a migrant, in a river that flows along the country's border with Slovenia on 2 February.

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.


Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here
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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:
Olivia Headon, IOM Libya, Tel: + +216510 84554 , 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: