IOM, the UN Migration agency, reports that 21,301 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 29 May, roughly a one third decrease from the 32,070 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for 85% of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.
Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost five months of 2019 are at 519 individuals—or less than four-fifths of the 662 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018.
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (30/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7876 men, women and children through 29 May. That is close to the total for this same period last year when, through 2018’s first five months Spanish authorities tallied arrivals of 8150 irregular migrants by the Western Mediterranean route.
With two days remaining to report arrivals for the month of May, irregular migration activity in these waters appears to have tapered off significantly after a fast start earlier this year. May arrivals through 29 days are 1160, Ms. Dodevska reported, much fewer than the total arriving in May 2018, when 3523 entered Spain via this same route
IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Wednesday (29/05) that over 48 hours from 28-29 May, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) confirmed seven incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands Lesvos, Leros, Samos, Symi Kos and the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 191 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.
Those arrivals, plus another 95 reported since 27 May, bring to 10,200 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year. Another 3,497 irregular migrants arrived through 30 April via Greece’s land border with Turkey.
Missing Migrants Project
2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,975 individuals, including 1,015 in 2019.
In the Western Mediterranean, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that a young man from Cameroon went missing on 21 May. According to testimonies of the eight survivors who were travelling with him, he fell overboard before they were intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. His body was not recovered. Additionally, on 23 May the remains of a migrant, likely of Sub-Saharan African origin, washed ashore on the beach of Malabata, near Tangiers, Morocco. In the Central Mediterranean, migrants intercepted and returned to Libya on 23 May reported that five men drowned during their voyage.