Once again, a ship rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean is in limbo at sea. Maltese and Italian authorities are denying the ship “Lifeline” with 220 refugees on board to dock in their ports. Both countries closed their ports to a ship carrying around 630 refugees two weeks ago.
The new Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini ordered the ship “Aquarius” should not be allowed into Italian ports, arguing it was the island state of Malta’s responsibility to let it dock. Malta declined. Then, the newly elected Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez offered the ship refuge in Spain.
As our infographic based on data provided by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR
shows, the number of people arriving across the Mediterranean in Europe has declined since peaking in 2015. Spain has overtaken Italy this year (as of late June) and taken in the most sea arrivals.
The numbers arriving in Greece have receded in recent years, with an EU-Turkey deal to stop migration via this route in force. The UNHCR estimates that more than 16,300 people are missing or feared dead on the Mediterranen route alone, from 2014 until June 2018.