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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 5,932, Deaths: 254

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Switzerland - IOM reports that 5,932 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 2 February, about 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece. This compares with 67,856 through the first 33 days of 2016.

These arrivals do not include 1,340 migrants rescued in Straits of Sicily on Wednesday, who were bound for Italian ports on Thursday night. The 4,480 who landed in Italy before January 31, and the 1,340 en route on Thursday evening, put Italy’s total through the year’s first five weeks at 5,820 – about the same number of arrivals in Italy as at this point in 2016, and significantly ahead of the 2015 total during the same period.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports 254 estimated deaths at sea on various routes, compared with 379 through the first 33 days of 2016. IOM has recorded no Mediterranean fatalities since Sunday, January 29.

The 2017 fatalities figure represents almost a reverse of the pattern of casualties from a year ago, when 90 deaths occurred on the Central Mediterranean Sea route connecting North Africa to Italy and only five deaths occurring off Spain.

In 2016 at this time, 272 deaths were reported on the Eastern route between Turkey and Greece. So far this year it is the Central Mediterranean route with 228 deaths, and Spain, with 25, which account for almost all the fatalities of migrants at sea, with just one reported death off Greece, recorded last month.

Worldwide, 2017 fatalities are around 200 fewer than at this point in 2016. Missing Migrants researchers note that Mediterranean deaths for most of this year were running well ahead of last January’s count; however, that changed in January’s final week. A year ago three separate tragedies between 28-30 January resulted in the deaths of 150 migrants in the Mediterranean.

As the table (below) demonstrates, Latin America’s routes through the first 33 days of the new year have been particularly deadly, with 89 deaths – nearly three per day – compared with just 35 at this point last year.

A number of drownings in the Rio Grande (Bravo) separating Texas from Mexico during the past week are responsible for some of the statistical increase, as was the shipwreck of the Haitian sloop “Adonai” which foundered off the Turks and Caicos Islands last week. IOM learned this week one more body has been recovered – bringing total confirmed deaths to 16 – with one sole survivor and 51 migrants still unaccounted for.

On 30 January the Marine Police of Turks and Caicos reported that even as police and immigration officials continued to search for corpses from the “Adonai” in the waters of the North West Point area of Providenciales, two more sloops were intercepted late that night as they attempted to make landfall.

Around 11:30 pm on Sunday 29th January 2017, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Marine Police intercepted a blue and brown 36-foot wooden boat three miles from shore. The boat had 125 people on board – 98 men, 27 women and two minors. Marine Police later intercepted a 25-foot wooden boat around 4:15 am with another 53 people on board (46 men and seven women). A total of 178 people from both sloops were taken into custody for processing for eventual repatriation.

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:
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216297 94707, 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: