Mediterranean Update: Shipwrecks off Libya, Greece

Italy - The Libyan Red Crescent has reported another tragedy at sea, with the recovery of over 40 corpses on Libyan beaches. Some 27 bodies were found on Zliten beach, east of Tripoli, others were found nearby on Khoms beach.

The shipwreck in which they died may have been due to bad weather. At least 30 migrants, who were on the boat that sank, are still missing. All were reportedly from Sub-Saharan Africa, according to IOM staff.
Last week some migrants rescued at sea and brought to Sicily – rescued while they were travelling on a rubber dinghy – told IOM staffers in Italy that another boat had left Libyan shores one hour before theirs, but it never arrived. It was not possible to get further information.

"These could be the bodies of the migrants who were on the other boat, that maybe got lost a few days ago but we will never know for sure," said Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM spokesperson in Italy.
“We know how many people arrive in Italy, but we will never know how many people actually depart from Libya. We think that there are shipwrecks that remain unknown and unfortunately the total of 2,860 recorded deaths in the Mediterranean is probably an underestimation.”

Some 7,523 migrants have arrived in Italy in October so far (as of 26/10), while last year the total number of migrants who landed in Italy during the whole month of October was 15,279. The decrease is largely due to the fact that Syrians are now reaching Europe through Greece. Excluding the Syrians, the number of arrivals of other nationalities has increased compared to 2014.

Since the beginning of the year, the total number of sea arrivals in Greece has exceeded 550,000. IOM Greece reports that approximately 160,000 migrants and refugees crossed into Greece from Turkey this month. Of these, some 99,000 arrived on the island of Lesvos, 22,000 on Chios, 21,500 on Samos and approximately 7,500 on Leros.
Despite worsening weather conditions this weekend, IOM staff say that the number of arrivals continued to be high, according to the Hellenic Police. Some 5,239 people arrived in Greece on Saturday and 4,199 on Sunday.

According to IOM Greece’s Early Warning Information Sharing System, over the past week through Sunday (25/10) some 42,950 migrants crossed Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Some 4,650 crossed on 19/10, 5,050 on 20/10, 6,100 on 21/10, 7,300 on 22/10, 8,200 on 23/10, 6,600 on 24/10 and 5,050 on 25/10.
The Greek Asylum Service also announced that only 1,153 asylum applications (886 men, 267 women, 34 unaccompanied minors) were submitted during September 2015, despite the 150,957 new arrivals recorded during the month.

The crossing between Turkey and Greece remains deadly, notably due to increasingly strong winds. A smuggling boat capsized on Sunday (25/10) off the Coast of Lesvos. Some 63 migrants were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard, but as many as seven people are still missing. Three bodies – a woman, her six-year-old daughter and a boy – all Afghans –
subsequently washed up on the shore.
The next day, another shipwreck was recorded off the coast of Lesvos, when a plastic vessel smashed into rocks. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 35 migrants and recovered the body of one Afghan woman from the shore. IOM staff in Lesvos report that a fishing boat rescued 41 migrants and refugees from the sea on Saturday night.
Because of the bad weather and rough seas, IOM staff report that tracking migrant boats at sea is becoming more difficult and more aerial surveillance is being implemented.


Mediterranean Developments

Country of Arrival




139,594 (IOM est.)


(Central Med route)





368 (Eastern Med route)



29 (Western Med and Western African routes)

Estimated Total



Data on deaths of migrants compiled by IOM Research Division. All numbers are minimum estimates.
Arrivals estimates based on data from respective governments and IOM field offices.
*Data for Greece are derived from new and updated data collected by IOM staff in Greece and Greek authorities (1/1/2015 – 25/10/2015). Numbers are not the actual daily arrivals, but the number of migrants who have officially been recorded by the Greek authorities after their arrival. This procedure may take a few days.
Data for Italy as of 30 September is based on the information circulated by the Italian Ministry of Interior. Arrivals from 1 October onwards are IOM estimates. Data for Spain is until 15 October 2015, while data for Malta is until 30 September.

Arrivals BY SEA TO Italy
1 January – 25 October 2015    139,594 *

*Data as of 30 September are based on the information circulated by the Italian Ministry of Interior. Arrivals from 1 October onwards are IOM estimates.
Ø  September 2015 Total (Data provided by Italian MoI): 15,922
Ø  October 2015 Total (IOM estimate as of 26/10): 7,523
Ø  Main Countries of Origin: Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Gambia, Bangladesh, Mali, Senegal, Ghana
Ø  Main departure country: Libya  (few departures from Egypt, Greece, and Turkey)
Data of arrivals at landing points where IOM staff is not present is not included in October’s tally.

2014 Totals: 170,100 arrived in Italy

Arrivals by sea to Italy January to September 2014/2015

(source: Italian MoI)
2014 2015
January 2,171 3,528
February 3,335 4,354
March 5,459 2,283
April 15,679 16,063
May 14,599 21,221
June 22,641 22,905
July 24,031 23,186
August 24,774 22,607
September 26,107 15,922
TOTAL 138,796 132,071

Arrivals by sea to Italy - Main Countries of Origin January – September 2014/2015

(source: Italian MoI)
Main Countries of Origin 2014 2015
Eritrea 32,537 35,938
Nigeria 6,951 17,886
Somalia 4,113 10,050
Sudan 2,370 8,370
Syria 32,681 7,072
Gambia 24,774 6,315
Bangladesh 26,107 5,037
Total All Countries of Origin 138,796 132,071


1 January – 25 October 2015    560,683*
* Unofficial data regarding exclusively the so-called “blue” borders, as derived by the data collected by IOM staff in Greece and the Greek authorities (1/1/2015-25/10/2015.)
• 2014 Totals: 34,442 arrived by sea in Greece between 1 January and 31 December 2014.

Arrivals by sea to GREECE JANUARY – SEPTEMBER 2015

Main Countries of Origin Tot.
Syria 277,899
Afghanistan 76,620
Iraq 21,552
Pakistan 14,323
Total All Countries of Origin 393,532


Arrivals by sea to GREECE JANUARY- SEPTEMBER 2014/2015

2014  2015  Differential 
32,149 393, 532  + 1,124%

For latest data on arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit http://missingmigrants.iom.int
For further information, please contact Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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