A total of 140 538 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea in 2017 as at October 8, the International Organization for Migration said in a report on October 10.
Of this total so far in 2017, about 75 per cent arrived in Italy and the remainder were divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 318 207 arrivals across the region through the same period of 2016.
IOM Rome said on October 9 that official figures from the Italian Ministry of the Interior show 107 028 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, almost 26 per cent fewer than last year in the same period, when 144 445 migrants arrived by sea.
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said that Sunday a Tunisian military ship collided with a vessel carrying around 70 migrants in the Maltese search and rescue area, 54km from the island of Kerkennah (governorate of Sfax).
According to Italian media, the migrants – all, apparently, Tunisian – left Tunisia from Kerkennah. The collision caused the craft to sink. Maltese authorities coordinated rescue operations carried out by the Italian Coast Guard and Italian Navy, who confirmed 46 survivors with remains of eight persons recovered. By Monday evening the estimate of those missing remained 20.
Di Giacomo provided the following statistics on Tunisian migration by sea to Italy, which appears to be increasing over previous years. He reported 1637 Tunisians arrived by sea in Italy in 2014, then 880 the following year and 1200 last year. During the first eight months of 2017, Di Giacomo aid, 1357 migrants from Tunisia arrived in Italy, or more than all of 2016. In September, at least a further1400 arrived.
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska said that arrivals to Spain for the month of September totalled 1004, about half the level for August. The total arrivals for 2017 had reached 12 328 by October 9. At this time last year, Spain saw a total of 5445 migrants arriving by sea.
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia said on October 9 that four incidents off the islands of Lesvos and Chios had required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard brought 153 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.
Namia said that migrant sea arrivals to Greek territory totalled 822 for the first seven days of October, and 20 364 for 2017 so far.