Boat migrants’ deaths highlight continued rise in irregular migration to Europe
(4 July 2014)
The Italian Navy discovered the bodies of 30 migrants in a fishing boat hold on 30 June 2014. The cause of death appeared to be suffocation or drowning. An additional 556 people were rescued from the same boat, capping off a weekend where Italian authorities rescued more than 5,000 migrants in the Mediterranean.
The numbers of irregular migrants traveling by boat from North Africa through the Mediterranean has surpassed all previous records. Italy has tallied that over 60,000 irregular migrants traveling by boat have landed onshore in the first six months of 2014, compared with 42,000 migrants in all of 2013. Migrants to Italy appear likely to soon top records set in 2011, when over 63,000 people primarily fleeing Arab Spring unrest in Libya and Tunisia traveled by boat to Italy.
Frontex, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, predicted a 2014 rise in irregular migration across the Mediterranean, noting that the area remains the main entry point for irregular migration to Europe. Statistics from Frontex show that peak migrant flows in the Mediterranean occur in between July and October.
The increase in traffic in irregular migration across the Mediterranean has been accompanied by rising numbers of migrants from Syria at EU borders, Frontex also notes. Syrians accounted for almost one quarter of all migrant arrivals at EU borders in 2013, and Syrians represented the top nationality seeking international protection throughout Europe.
Pianigianijune, Gaia. 30 Migrants Found Dead in a Boat Near Sicily, 30 June 2014, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/world/europe/bodies-of-30-migrants-found-in-boat-off-sicily.html?_r=0
Italy finds 30 bodies in migrant boat, 30 June 2014, BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28082969
Frontex Publishes Annual Risk Analysis 2014, 2014, Frontex, http://frontex.europa.eu/news/frontex-publishes-annual-risk-analysis-2014-wc71Jn