Timeline  : 2000 – 2017


2000 – “Boat migrants” have been dying in the Mediterranean at least since the late 1980s but 2000 is a benchmark year for the birth of Fortress Europe

2001 – Notice deaths between Albania and Italy – a spill over from the mass exodus of refugees fleeing a bleak, oppressive and isolated Albania in the 1990s

2002 – Deaths between Morocco to Spain, Tunisia and Italy reach a flashpoint. Irregular migration and deaths at sea become a major European concern

2003 – Meanwhile, people keep dying in the Aegean and on route from places like Turkey and Lebanon, some headed to Italy, hardly grabbing international attention

2004 – Frontex is born with border control being its primary concern

2005 – Libya is established as the main sending point in the central Med

2006 – Frontex starts controversial operation off Morocco and Canary Islands. Crossings start decreasing as do deaths on this route

2007 – European border control strategies channel irregular migration to the central Med

2008 – Crossings from Libya reach all time high… as do deaths

2009 – Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi reaches deal with Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi to stop boats leaving Libya

2010 – Crossings come to near standstill, as do deaths. But more people than ever are crossing eastern Med

2011 – The Arab spring brings revolution to Tunisian and Libyan. Migrants flee in their thousands and 2011 becomes deadliest year on record. 1,500 people perish

2012 – Syrians flee conflict to nearby countries. But crossings and death remain relatively stable between Turkey and Greece

2013 – Italy launches Mare Nostrum after two back-to-back shipwrecks in October kill almost 400 migrants

2014 – Continued Libyan chaos pushes some 200,000 migrants across the Med. 3,500 people die

2015 – Deaths soar in early 2015 culminating in the death of some 850 migrants in a single accident 85 miles off Libya on April 18. Meanwhile, crossings soar to Greece

2016 – The number of deaths in the Eastern Mediterranean has decreased after the closure of the Balkan route and the EU-Turkey deal. However, the Central Mediterranean route has seen a record of 5,245 deaths.

2017 – Deaths in the first months of 2017 have increased compared to 2016. The smugglers are increasingly taking risks which have resulted in incidents where significant numbers of people have lost their lives.