Mapping Fatal Migration Incidents in the Mediterranean

Refer to this other Silk for a more updated version of the data.

The Migrants' Files project was launched in 2013 by a group of European journalists and researchers who joined forces to quantify the deaths of immigrants seeking refuge in Europe and identify the locations of these tragedies on maps.* Note: This is an ongoing project. The data listed here is only a partial listing of reported incidents and should not be viewed as definitive.

The blue waters of the Mediterranean have become a bloodbath for desperate immigrants seeking refuge in the European Union. Over the past 15 years, the number of accidents has soared. Fleeing strife in their home countries, men, women and children from dozens of countries have contracted with smugglers for a dangerous passage to safety in Southern Europe. The largest number come from Syria and Eritrea. 

The smugglers often charge the migrants many thousands of dollars and load the boats to the point of bursting. Any rough weather can result in distress calls or capsize. The smugglers provide the distress number of the Italian and Maltese Navies as a tenuous lifeline and fallback to the migrants. This has overwhelmed the naval resources of these two countries, who respond several times per week (at a minimum) to distress calls. Sometimes the navies contact merchant vessels located nearby. Far too often, help does not arrive before many migrants die. This Silk contains data telling the story of the migrants' flight and the horrific toll exacted. 

Dead and Missing Migrants: Events

Page Title
Date
Description
Route
Dead and Missing
Coordinates
700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck19/04/2015700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreckCentral Mediteranean Route72033.867198, 12.279102
Ship capsizes off Libya on Apr 15 2015 (id: 78306)14/04/2015About 400 migrants are feared died in an attempt to reach Italy from Libya when their boat capsized, survivors said.Central Mediterranean40035,15.1
300 die in stormy sea in early February 2015 (id: 76382)10/02/2015300 migrants and refugees are thought to be dead by UN agencies based on survivors' testimonies.Central Mediterranean30033.7,13.6
50 dead on March 4, 2015 (id: 76897)04/03/2015A boat transporting migrants has capsized off Sicily, killing at least ten people.Central Mediterranean5036.1,15.2
41 feared dead on April 16 2015 (id: 78478)16/04/2015Central Mediterranean4136.2,12.5
29 die of hypothermia off Lampedusa on 9 February 2015 (id: 76304)09/02/2015More than 20 died of hypothermia. Another 15 in critical condition.Central Mediterranean2935.4,12.6
20 missing off Malta on 22 January 2015 (id: 75654)22/01/2015A Maltese patrol boat rescued about 80 migrants, who claimed 20 had died since leaving from Tripoli. A man died in a Maltese hospital after disembarking.Central Mediterranean2135.4,14
12 thrown overboard on April 14 (id: 78476)14/04/2015Central European1234.7,15.5
12 killed in car chase in Libya on 20 January 2014 (id: 75619)20/01/2015A people smuggler was carrying 12 Nigerien illegal immigrants from Tarhuna to Tripoli when a military patrol pursued his vehicle. During the pursuit, two military vehicles hit the smuggler's car, causing a tragic accident, in which the smugglers, the 12 immigrants and four troops were killed.1232.5,13.3
4 dead off the Canary Islands on March 9, 2015 (id: 77186)09/03/2015Four dead and 8 missing on a 30-person boat.Western African1229.01,-12.79
7 dead in Symi on Apr 7 2015 (id: 78096)07/04/2015Seven persons were found dead while another nine were rescued by members of the Turkish coast guard, after they were spotted east of the Greek island Symi, near Rhodes.Eastern Mediterranean - Sea1136.6,27.9
9 dead in shipwreck off Libya on Apr 12 2015 (id: 78172)12/04/2015Central Mediterranean933.4,15.3
8 dead off Morocco on 30 January 2015 (id: 76102)30/01/2015A boat carrying illegal migrants sank off the Mediterranean shore near the Spanish enclave of Melillla.Western Mediterranean835.235482,-2.873268
5 dead off Murcia on Jan 5 2015 (id: 77409)05/01/2015A patera capsized. Refugees and migrants from another boat were able to rescue six people.Western Mediterranean636.4,-0.9
5 die on March 17, 2015 (id: 77230)17/03/2015At least five people were killed when a boat carrying migrants sank near the southwestern province of Muğla early on March 17.Eastern Mediterranean - Sea536.9,27.4
200 Migrants Leaves 3 Dead in Rhodes on April 20, 2015 (ID: 78862)20/04/2015The boat hit a reef at Zephyros beach in Rhodes and the migrants started to flee to the shore, jumping into the sea, withor help. According to preliminary information released by the authorities, the boat sailed from the coast of Turkey. The smuggler abandoned the migrants in the middle of the sea, however, they still managed to reach Rhodes.Eastern Mediterranean3
2 Albanians jump ship on Feb 26, 2015 (id: 77628)26/02/2015Two men jump ship as they are being deported from the UK to Belgium.251.924,1.44
Death of Mohamed Camara (id: 76884)20/02/20151
Suicide at Amygdaleza camp (id: 76894)13/02/2015140.634676,22.943048
Death of Sayed Mehdi Achmpari (id: 76888)10/02/2015138.1260386,23.7367192
One dead on April 11, 2015 (id: 78114)11/04/2015Migrants were picked up by three merchant vessels and an Italian navy ship. In all 978 people were rescued, one person had died before help arrived.Central Mediterranean134.9,15
Shipwreck off Kafr al-Sheikh on April 10, 2015 (id: 78112)10/04/2015A ship carrying 200 migrants capsized near Egypt's Mediterranean coast.Central Mediterranean132,30.6
Migrants commits suicide at Thessaloniki police station (id: 76892)13/02/2015140.634676,22.943048

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click "Explore" to transform this map into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters. Click on each event for more information.

The The Migrants' Files project scrupulously collects, aggregates and publishes detailed information to about tragic events which took place primarily on migration routes across the Mediterranean Sea, into Europe. The dataset includes events from 2000 onward.

The Silk team imported the Events data from The Migrants' Files project and enhanced the data with additional geographical information so that users and journalists can easily query the information, explore patterns ad visualize the data interactively. Silk allows anyone to share of this information in a few clicks on social media, or to embed charts, maps and other visualizations in online media.

The news of dead migrants usually reaches big media outlets intermittently, around big incidents or in times of important policy decisions. The following table helps to put the full impact of these tragedies into perspective, allowing you to sift through the entire database interactively.

Recent Events

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click on the headings to sort ascending/descending on a variable. Click "Explore" to transform this table into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters, or expand the table to include older events as well. Click on each event for more information.

The journey itself isn't the only danger migrants face. Since 2000, The Migrants' Files project has reported at least 69 fatal events occurring in relation with detention centers.

Five most fatal events related to detention centers

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click on the headings to sort ascending/descending on a variable. Click "Explore" to transform this table into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters, or expand the table further to all 69 events. Click on each event for more information.

Of these events, more than 20% happened in Italy, followed by Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Location of fatal migrant events related detention centers

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As most of the events are related to boat journey, it's not surprising that drowning is by far the most common death for migrants coming to Europe - accounting for 60% of the total incidents. Filtering for other typologies of events shows other trends. For example, in events related to detention centers, suicide and lack of medical care account for most of the reported incidents.

Number events grouped by cause of death

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*About the Migrants Files:

"The Migrants' Files" is an European investigation about deaths and missing migrants in the Mediterranean sea, published in Monday, March 31, 2014 on many media throughout Europe.

The Migrants’ Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by Journalismfund.eu.

The data for The Migrants’ Files draw on previous work by United for Intercultural Action (unitedagainstracism.org), Gabriele Del Grande's Fortress Europe and Puls, as well as additional research.

Sixteen students of the Laboratory of Data Journalism at the University of Bologna have contributed to the project checking the details of a sample of incidents, supervised by Prof. Carlo Gubitosa.

Media partners supporting the journalism consortium’s work are L’Espresso, Le Monde Diplomatique. The data was released under a Creative Commons License.