Far fewer migrants are reaching Europe by sea

Photo credit: Reuters.

TMP – 04/12/2017

The number of migrants reaching Europe by sea has dropped significantly compared with the same period in 2016, according to a newly published report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The report reveals that around 155,000 migrants reached Europe by sea routes between January and November of this year – less than half of the nearly 341,000 migrants who arrived in 2016.
The Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy remains by far the most used passage to Europe, although the number of migrants arriving in Italy is considerably less than the arrivals recorded last year.
The stark decrease in the number of migrants reaching European shores is likely due to the enhanced capacity of the Libyan coastguard which, in cooperation with European countries, regularly prevents boats from leaving its shores or intercepts vessels at sea and has started returning migrants to Libya, based on an agreement between EU and Libya earlier this year, migrants detained by Libyan coast guard would be returned to Libya.
The report also cites at least 2,749 cases of migrants dying this year while on the Central Mediterranean route, although in reality this number is likely to be far higher.
On 6 November alone, a dinghy carrying 140 migrants capsized off the shores of Tripoli, killing five migrants, including a child. At least 29 of the migrants on board remain missing.