“The Central Mediterranean is considered to be the deadliest migration route in the world, with more than 14,500 deaths recorded in this area since 2014. During the first seven months of 2017, 2,224 migrant fatalities were recorded by IOM in the Central Mediterranean. During 2017, 1 in 36 migrants attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean route perished. This is a significant increase compared to 2016 when 1 in 88 were reported missing or dead.
The available evidence indicates that the rise in the number of migrant deaths on this route is a result of several factors, including increasingly dangerous smuggling practices. 1 IOM staff in Libya and Italy report that smugglers increasingly use less-seaworthy vessels to send migrants across the Central Mediterranean. There has also been an increased number of instances in which multiple boats leave the North African coast at the same time. Additionally, there is evidence that embarking from Libya to Europe is no longer restricted to particular seasons with better weather and sea conditions: the four-month period between November 2016 and February 2017 saw 35,448 arrivals in Italy, a 61 per cent increase compared with the winter months of 2015-2016. ”