A woman lays flowers around the body of a migrant found in Canos de Meca beach in Cadiz, in southern Spain. Credit: EPA/ROMAN RIOS
A woman lays flowers around the body of a migrant found in Canos de Meca beach in Cadiz, in southern Spain. Credit: EPA/ROMAN RIOS

More than 18,000 migrants have died or gone missing between October 2013 and December 2018 in the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to reach Europe, according to a report based on annual figures by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and its Missing Migrants project.

The number of deaths has increased into a veritable massacre since the time of the tragic shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa in October 2013. Chilling images of 368 coffins lined up in a hangar, many of them small and white, left their indelible mark. The death toll continued to climb after that year, reaching 3,280 in 2014; 3,771 in 2015; a peak in 2016 at 5,143; 3,139 in 2017; and 2,297 last year. 

Here are the main tragedies at sea since October 2013: 

- October 3, 2013: The Lampedusa tragedy. A total of 368 people died in a shipwreck off the island's coast, including many women and children. There were 155 survivors.

- July 2, 2014: A rubber dinghy sinks with 101 people aboard. A merchant vessel saves 27, while 74 others go missing.

- August 22, 2014: More than 200 people are killed in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya. Many bodies wash up on shore.

- April 14, 2015: Shipwreck off the coast of Libya with 300 victims, according to survivors' accounts.

- April 18, 2015: Overcrowding and incorrect maneuvers cause a shipwreck in the Strait of Sicily with at least 700 victims. Some witnesses spoke of up to 900 victims, making it the most serious tragedy of all. Only 28 people survive.

- August 5, 2015: A fishing boat overturns near Libya. There were 600 people aboard, 300 of whom are rescued. Only 25 bodies are recovered.

- April 18, 2016: A large wooden boat sinks with about 500 migrants aboard, nearly all of whom go missing in the Mediterranean. The boat had departed from Libya and was headed for Italy.

- June 3, 2016: In the Libyan coastal city of Zuwara, the dead bodies of migrants wash up on the beach, stretching a full 25 kilometres. At least 117 bodies are recovered.

- November 3, 2016: 239 migrants died in two shipwrecks off the coast of Libya.

- March 23, 2017: A double shipwreck in which at least 240 migrants die on the route between Africa and Spain.-April 13, 2017: Nearly 100 migrants go missing from a boat of 120 migrants off the coast of Libya.

- May 7, 2017: At least 113 people go missing at sea after a rubber dinghy sinks off the coast of Al Zawiyah. The Libyan Coast Guard and some fishing boats rescue only seven people.

- September 1, 2018: Over 100 victims, including 20 children, in a shipwreck of two rubber dinghies that had departed from the coasts of Libya.

More articles