Mediterranean Arrivals Near Record 600,000

Mediterranean arrivals in 2015 are now close to 600,000. Source:International Organization for Migration.

13-10-2015 — Italy – Italy registered the arrival of 132,071 migrants from January through the end of September 2015 – a slight drop from the number recorded during the same period in 2014, when arrivals totalled 138,796. As of today (13/10), the total is over 136,408.

According to IOM estimates, at least 3,103 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, often because of bad weather conditions and the acute disrepair of the overcrowded vessels used by the smugglers.

Based on information provided by the Italian Ministry of Interior, the six most represented nationalities at the end of September were:

  • Eritrea (35,938),
  • Nigeria (17,886),
  • Somalia (10,050),
  • Sudan (8,370),
  • and Syria (7,072).

While the vast majority of migrants were adult males, there were also significant numbers of women and children, particularly unaccompanied minors (10,043.)

These nationalities were also among the top ten this time last year, when the most represented group was composed by Syrians, who now reach Europe mainly via Greece.

“One alarming aspect of these figures is the increase of the arrival of Nigerian women – 1,008 last year, 4,371 in 2015,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.

“We know that many of these women are potential victims of trafficking, IOM Italy has established two anti-trafficking teams who provide information and offer protection to these women.”

Last Friday (9/10) the first relocation operation supported by the EU Commission took place in Rome. The first 19 migrants were Eritreans, who arrived a few days earlier in Lampedusa, and were flown to Lulea in Sweden.

“The operation represented an important step toward the establishment of a mechanism that will be able to provide support to Italy and offer a valid alternative to those migrants who see Italy as a country of transit,” noted Soda.

According to data provided by Greek authorities and collected by IOM Regional Staff in Greece, over 450,000 migrants have arrived as of today by sea to Greece. Figures for period 1 January – 30 September 2015 show that, out of about 393,000 arrivals to Greece, the most represented country of origin was Syria (277,899), followed by Afghanistan (76,620), Iraq (21,552) and Pakistan (14,323). Last year, in the same period, arrivals registered in Greece totalled 31,000.

“While nationalities arriving by sea to Greece are mainly composed by people fleeing war or persecution, in Italy the flows are more mixed, and include people fleeing conflict and oppressive regimes, but also poverty”, said Mr. Soda.

“However, given the situation in Libya, we may also consider the economic migrants (mainly from sub-Sahara Africa) passing through Libya as vulnerable, as they are often systematically and cruelly abused by smugglers and traffickers,” he added.

Mediterranean Developments 
Arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean: 1 January – 12 October, 2015


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Country of Arrival Arrivals Deaths
Italy 136,408 (IOM est.) 2,814
(Central Med route)
Malta 105
Greece 453,912* 264
(Eastern Med route)
Spain 3,007 25
(Western Med and Western African routes)
Estimated Total 593,432 3,103


Data on deaths of migrants compiled by RES. All numbers are minimum estimates. Arrivals estimates based on data from respective governments and IOM field offices.

*Data for Greece is derived by the new and updated data collected by IOM Regional Staff in Greece and Greek authorities (1/1/2015 – 11/10/2015). 

Numbers are not the actual daily arrivals but the number of migrants who have officially been recorded by the Greek authorities after their arrival.

Arrivals by sea to Italy 2015 (Source Italian MOI):  

1 January  30 September 2015

TOTAL:         132,071 (30/09/2014: 138,796)
 MEN:            99,999
WOMEN:      18,398
MINORS:      13,674 among them 10,043 Unaccompanied Minors

Main nationalities Total Men Women Minors Among them
Eritrea 35,398 23,264 8,081 4,053 2,907
Nigeria 17,886 12,507 4,371 1,008 817
Somalia 10,050 6,589 2,164 1,297 1,028
Sudan 8,370 7,777 301 292 186
Syria 7,072 3,957 1,168 1,953 66


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Source: International Organization for Migration

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