Mediterranean Migrant Deaths, 2015

Hundreds of refugees have died while attempting passage this year.

mediterranean migrants
Migrants arriving at the Messina harbor, Sicily, Italy
Source: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File

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On Apr. 19, 2015, hundreds of migrants went missing when their ship capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. Many were trapped in the ship at the bottom of the deep sea, off the Libyan coast. According to a statement made by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the ship carried 850 people and only 28 were known to have survived. It was the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean involving migrants in a year where the numbers of refugees have continued to increase rapidly.

While the numbers of refugees have increased due to conflicts in countries like Syria and Somalia, the loss of life has also increased because migrants are taking huge risks to leave. More migrant vessel accidents continued throughout the summer, including several in August. By Aug. 28, the UNHCR reported that 2,500 migrants had died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean this year. Here's a look at the worst incidents in the Mediterranean so far in 2015.


Location Passengers Deaths/Missing Date
off Libya 850 22/800 April 19
off Libya unknown 160/200+ Aug. 27
off Libya 550 9/400+ April 13
off Libya 370 26/200 Aug. 5
off Libya 120 50/50+ Aug. 11
off Catania 600 5/40 May 5
off Libya 283 40+/unknown July 23
off Libya 571 52/unknown Aug. 25
off Libya 400 49/unknown Aug. 15
off Libya 3500 (multiple vessels) 10+/unknown May 3
-Jennie Wood