The UN Migration Agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 106,269 migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea in 2018, through November 25. This is the fifth consecutive year that arrivals of irregular migrants have surpassed the 100,000 mark, although the total in 2018 is lower than numbers from the same period in 2017 (159,996) and 2016 (348,591).Through November 25, victims at sea recorded by IOM totaled 2,119.
In Italy, IOM registered a total of 23,009 migrants who reached the country by sea as of November 24. The number is significantly lower than the same period of time last year (116,616 arrivals). IOM Rome's Flavio Di Giacomo said that on Saturday evening (24 November), a boat carrying 264 migrants arrived at Pozzallo, Sicily.
Most of these migrants came from the Horn of Africa. "Landings with more than 200 people on board have become a rare phenomenon," said Di Giacomo, "and it is extremely unusual that such an unseaworthy boat manages to reach the Italian coasts. These are boats completely unsuited for such travel and could sink at any moment."
The situation in Spain and Greece
Spain reached a total of 51,984 arrivals of irregular migrants in 2018, a figure that surpasses the total of all arrivals in the past three years together. IOM Spain's Ana Dodevska reported that through Saturday night (24 November) 3,583 men, women and children had arrived as irregular migrants this month, or slightly more than 1,000 people per week. This is a sharp drop from October (nearly 2,500 per week) or September (almost 1,900).
IOM Greece reported that from November 22 through the end of the weekend, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) was involved in at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Farmakonisi. The HCG rescued a total of 86 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands. Another 187 arrivals between Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to Samos and elsewhere brought to 29,164 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year through 24 November. That is just short of the total (29,501) arriving through all 2017, a total that appears will be surpassed in 2018.