International Organization For Migration News

30 Jan 2019

38 Migrants Confirmed Dead Off Djibouti After Boats Capsize

More than 100 migrants are believed missing and 38 confirmed dead off the coast of Djibouti after two boats capsized, the U.N. migration agency said on Wednesday.The overcrowded boats, carrying mostly Ethiopians, had set sail on rough seas when they capsized shortly after departing Djibouti, said Lalini Veerassamy, chief of mission in Djibouti for the International Organization for Migration.Djibouti's coastguard is continuing its search for survivors, she said, adding that beyond the IMO's rough estimate it was not clear how many more migrants might be missing.Many thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa region board boats from Djibouti each year, hoping to cross to the Arabian Peninsula in search of work. (Reuters, Reporting by Maggie Fick Editing by Gareth Jones)

06 Nov 2018

Spanish Coast Guard: 17 Migrants Perish in Western Med

At least 17 migrants died in the space of 24 hours while trying to cross the sea from North Africa to Spain, and rescuers picked up more than 100 others, the Spanish coast guard said on Monday.Two rafts were found in the Western Mediterranean between the Iberian peninsula and Morocco and Algeria with 80 people aboard, and 13 dead. They were taken to the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, the coast guard said.The coast guard also found four bodies and rescued 22 men in the Atlantic off the southern Spanish city of Cadiz.Spain has now become the main destination for undocumented migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East trying to reach Europe.More than 47,000 people made the treacherous journey to Spain, often on flimsy dinghies and rafts, between Jan. 1 and Oct.

02 Oct 2018

Dozens Drown in Mediterranean Shipwreck

At least 34 migrants have died in a shipwreck in the western Mediterranean, which 26 people survived, the U.N. migration agency said on Tuesday, citing the Moroccan navy and a Spanish aid agency.Joel Millman, spokesman of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told Reuters, "The boat was adrift since Sunday with 60 people aboard. At least 34 have drowned, it looks like there were 26 survivors."The information came from the Moroccan navy and a Spanish non-governmental organisation Caminando Fronteras, he said.A Moroccan official, asking not to be named, said 11 bodies had been recovered, adding that the dead were all migrants, not Moroccan nationals. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Zakia Abdennebi; editing by William Maclean)

06 Aug 2018

Migrant Rescue Ship Won't Take People Back to Libya

© Stan Laundon / MarineTraffic.com

Rescue ship Aquarius, which has picked up almost 3,000 migrants from the Mediterranean this year, will carry out rescue missions without waiting for orders from coastguards and will not return people to Libya, its search and rescue head said."When we see there is a vessel in distress, with a high likelihood of people dying, we will go and rescue them immediately as per international maritime law," Nick Romaniuk told Reuters on board the Aquarius.Over the last year coordination…

13 Jul 2018

Italy in New Migrant Boat Standoff with Malta

Italy on Friday urged Malta to go to the aid of an overcrowded boat carrying hundreds of migrants, only hours after the Italian president intervened to end a dispute within the ruling coalition over rescued immigrants.There have been two similar stand-offs with Malta since Italy's new populist government, which pairs the far-right League party with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, took power on June 1.Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also leader of the League, said Italy would not take in the migrants because they were Malta's responsibility. Malta, a small island nation, has generally refused to take in large numbers of boat migrants.Italy has seen more than 650…

02 Jul 2018

Malta Detains Another 'Charity' Ship

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © markobe)

Italy and Malta are refusing to allow charity ships in ports; governments say charity ships help people smugglers. Charities counter that policy will cause more deaths at sea. For the second time in a week, Malta on Monday detained a humanitarian vessel that normally rescues boat migrants off the coast of Libya, where two shipwrecks have claimed the lives of as many as 200 people in recent days. The Sea Watch 3 vessel, operated by a German charity, requested to leave port after undergoing maintenance and the port authority refused, a Sea Watch spokeswoman said.

04 Jun 2018

At Least 48 Dead after Migrant Boat Sinks

At least 48 migrants were killed when their boat sank off Tunisia's coast and 67 others were rescued by the coast guard, officials said on Sunday, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in recent years.The boat went down near the southern island of Kerkenna, a tourist spot, in the night to Sunday, the defence ministry said in a statement. The victims were Tunisians and other nationalities, it said, without giving details.The rescue operation was suspended late on Sunday but will resume on Monday morning, officials said.Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as Libya's coast guard, aided by armed groups…

08 May 2018

Nigerian Migrants Sue Italy for Aiding Libyan Coast Guard

European Court of Human Rights (© Adrian Hancu / Adobe Stock)

Nigerian migrants who survived a deadly sea crossing last year filed a lawsuit against Italy for violating their rights by supporting Libya’s efforts to return them to North Africa, their lawyers said on Tuesday.Seventeen plaintiffs petitioned the European Court of Human Rights last week, Violeta Moreno-Lax, a legal advisor for the Global Legal Action Network, told reporters. She was among four lawyers and several humanitarian groups involved in the case.The migrants say Italy violated multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights…

06 Mar 2018

23 Migrants Likely Dead on Trip from Libya to Italy

The International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday that 21 migrants were missing, and had probably drowned, after two boats, a rubber dinghy and a wooden boat, set off from Libya for Italy and had to be rescued.   IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva that all 132 people on the rubber dinghy had been rescued, but 21 were missing from the 51 on the wooden boat, and two dead infants had reportedly been discovered on board, bringing the likely death toll to 23.   Reporting by Tom Miles

09 Feb 2018

UN: 22 Ethiopian Migrants Missing off Yemen

Twenty-two Ethiopian migrants are missing after being dumped in the sea off Yemen, the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday. IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the missing people were on one of four boats that brought 602 Ethiopian men and women to the coast of Yemen's Shabwa governorate in the past 24 hours. "We understand that passengers on the boat had been dropped into deep water and forced to swim to shore. No bodies have been recovered but 22 remain unaccounted for," Millman told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva. He gave no further details of the incident. "Despite the difficult security problems in Yemen, it's still a migrant transit point and we're still hearing about these reports pretty frequently," he said.

02 Feb 2018

Blue Border Security Assessment

Image:  International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO) 's maritime security provisions and the IMO treaties for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of navigation can be seen in the wider context of the global fight against terrorism. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) carries out assessment visits to countries to assess their compliance with various international security instruments. IMO has participated in a follow-up UNCTED assessment visit to Greece (31 January to 1 February)…

26 Jan 2018

30 Drown off Yemen After Boat Capsizes

At least 30 African refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of Yemen this week in a boat heading towards Djibouti operated by smugglers who are reported to have fired on passengers, the United Nations said on Friday.   "Survivors of the incident have reported to U.N. and partner staff that an over-crowded boat packed with at least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians departed 23 January from the Al Buraiqa coast in Aden in a boat headed across the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti," the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement. "The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers." Reporting by Tom Miles

15 Nov 2017

SAR Vessel Passes Capsize Test with Engines Running

(Photo: Damen)

Damen – in cooperation with the Turkish Coast Guard, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and engine manufacturer MTU – said it has completed full scale roll-over testing of its Search and Rescue Vessel 1906 with running engines, in Antalya, Turkey. According to Damen, its SAR 1906 has been an example of technological and academic cooperation since the vessel’s conception. The design itself is the result of close collaboration between Damen and the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM), Delft University of Technology, De Vries Lentsch Naval Architects.

30 Oct 2017

Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Unsafe mixed migration by sea continues to claim many lives, despite the strenuous efforts made by Governmental and naval rescue services, often supported by merchant vessels, abiding by the long-standing tradition and legal obligation to go to the rescue of persons in distress at sea. The complexities of this humanitarian challenge were discussed on Monday (30 October) at a meeting hosted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), bringing together representatives of UN agencies, the maritime industry and European Union naval forces.

10 Aug 2017

More Migrants Feared Drowned off Yemen

Some 180 young Ethiopian and Somali migrants, many weakened by hunger and drought in their home countries, were forced from a boat into rough seas off Yemen by smugglers on Thursday and 55 were presumed to have drowned, the U.N. migration agency said. It was the second such incident in as many days off Shabwa province in southern Yemen, where 50 teenage African migrants were "deliberately drowned" on Wednesday by a smuggler who forced 120 passengers off his boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. Smugglers were pushing migrants into the sea away from the mainland so as to avoid encountering possibly armed groups on shore in the war-torn country. They were then going back to pick up more migrants. "We have seen five bodies and can confirm five dead ...

27 Jun 2017

Three Dead, Thousands Rescued in Seas Off Libya

Three migrants died in the Mediterranean on Monday night, a German aid group said, during Italian-led rescue operations in which thousands more were pulled to safety from rickety boats. About 5,000 migrants were picked up off the Libyan coast by emergency services, Italy's navy, aid groups and private boats on Monday, and rescues were continuing on Tuesday, according to an Italian coastguard spokesman. "Despite all efforts, three people died from a sinking rubber boat" and rescue boats in the area are struggling to cope, German humanitarian group Jugend Rettet said on Facebook. Jugend Rettet (Rescuing Youth) is one of about nine aid…

19 Jun 2017

More than 120 Migrants Feared Dead after Boat's Motor Stolen

More than 120 migrants are feared to have died at the weekend when the motor of their boat was stolen, causing it to sink, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, citing testimony from survivors brought to Italy. Two Sudanese men who arrived with around 1,000 other migrants at the Sicilian port of Palermo on Monday told IOM staff they left Libya in a rubber boat packed with 130 people, mainly Sudanese, IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said. After a few hours at sea, the men said a group of Libyans caught them up. "They described (the Libyans) as pirates, but they are basically traffickers," Di Giacomo said. "They stole the motor - something which has happened a few times recently - and at that point the boat started to take on water and sank," he said.

06 Apr 2017

Libya Coastguard Clashes With Suspected Smugglers, Four Killed

Four suspected migrant smugglers were killed in an exchange of fire with the Libyan coastguard off western Libya on Thursday, spokesman Ayoub Qassem said. Qassem said the clash started when the coastguards tried to apprehend heavily armed gunmen whose boat was located near a migrant vessel close to the city of Zawiya, about 45 km (28 miles) west of Tripoli. "The coastguard boat detected the gunmen's boat by radar during a patrol," Qassem told Reuters. "The gunmen were asked to stop but they refused to follow the rules, which means most likely they were smugglers of illegal migrants. They opened fire at the patrol. Two of the suspected smugglers were arrested and one was missing, Qassem said.

05 Apr 2017

Humanitarian Ships Rescue Hundreds in Mediterranean

Humanitarian groups operating rescue ships off the coast of Libya picked up more than 700 migrants out of seven flimsy and overcrowded boats on Wednesday, Italy's coast guard said. The Phoenix rescue ship, operated by the Malta-based non-governmental organisation MOAS, rescued more than 300 people from three boats in international waters off the coast of the Libyan city of Sabratha. The Aquarius, operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders, went to the aid of four rubber boats, a coast guard spokesman said. Italy's coast guard coordinated the rescues. Migrants arriving in Italy on boats from North Africa are up some 30 percent so far this year, according to official data released last week.

31 Mar 2017

Migrant Shipwreck Death Toll Lowered

Five migrants are believed to have died when a rubber boat sank off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, aid groups said on Friday, adding that reports earlier this week that many more had been killed were wrong. Probably still in shock after he was taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa, a 16-year-old Gambian boy told humanitarian workers on Wednesday he was the only survivor of the wreck, Cecile Pouilly, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR, told reporters. When 140 others disembarked at a different port on Thursday, several identified the boy as having been on the same boat. "So we have pretty good information that this tragedy didn't occur as was initially reported," said Joel Millman, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

17 Jan 2017

2017 Med Migrant Deaths Up Sharply

File Image (Credit: AdobeStock 91860727)

At least 219 migrants and refugees are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean already this year, more than double than during the same period a year ago, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday. Following interviews with four survivors of a weekend shipwreck, the agency said nearly 180 people were feared to have been aboard a boat that capsized off the coast of Libya, not 110 as earlier thought. "So it's almost twice the number of casualties which brings the year total already two weeks into the year to 219 deaths on the Mediterranean…

15 Jan 2017

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 1,159; Deaths at Sea:27

Image IOM

Switzerland - International organization for migration (IOM) reports that 1,159 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 12 January, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, compared with 22,590 through the first 12 days of January, 2016. A year ago, IOM reported 22,322 migrants and refugees had landed on Greece’s islands after short runs from Turkey – a number consistent with the surge of Turkey-to-Europe passages that began the previous summer. This year through 12 January, IOM Athens reports that only 430 migrants from Turkey have landed in Greece.

21 Dec 2016

Six Migrants Die in Mediterranean, 300 Rescued

Rescuers saved around 300 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in the Mediterranean on Wednesday but recovered six dead bodies during the operations, the Italian coastguard said.   Coastguard and naval ships as well as two privately owned tugs rescued the people from four boats in the central Mediterranean, the coastguard said in a statement.   It gave no details on the nationalities of those saved or those who died.   Most of the more than 4,700 deaths in the Mediterranean counted by the International Organization for Migration so far this year were reported in crossings to Italy from Libya, where traffickers have taken advantage of lawlessness to set up profitable businesses. (Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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