The Italian news agency, Nova reported that Tunisia has “far surpassed Libya as the country of departure for boats loaded with migrants landing irregularly in Italy by ship.”
From the data provided by the Interior Ministry viewed by Nova, it appears that at least 12,083 people left the Tunisian coast from the beginning of the year, in more than 170 landings a day. This is a 788% boom compared to the 1,360 arrivals in the same period last year: equal to over a third of the 32,101 total landings from the Tunisian route for the whole of 2022.
At this rate, over 60 people could arrive from Tunisia alone, including Tunisians and sub-Saharan Africans. This is not considering the natural increase expected in the summer, thanks to the improvement in sea conditions.
It is, in fact, a reversal of flows in the central Mediterranean, since Libya had so far been the primary point of departure for boats arriving in Italy, with 53,118 arrivals in 2022.
However, the Libyan route is in second place with 7,057 arrivals as of 13 March. This is still an increase of about 80% compared to the same period last year.
Data from the Interior Ministry show a slight decline from the Turkish route following the Cutro tragedy, with 689 arrivals as of 13 March, compared to 812 in the same period of 2022. This figure is in line with the 16,115 complex landings of migrants who departed from Turkey last year.
Finally, the route from Algeria remains marginal, at an increase of 55 people who arrived in Sardinia in the same period of 2022, compared to 1,389 arrivals in 2022.
The data from the daily statistical dashboard published on the website of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration also indicate a reversal of the nationalities declared at the time of disembarkation.
Sub-Saharans have largely supplanted North Africans in the first months of 2023. In first place for landings in Italy as of 13 March is the Ivory Coast with 2,410 arrivals, while in the same period of 2022, it was Egypt with over 1,500 arrivals via Libya.
Guinea is in second place, with 2,380 arrivals as of 13 March 2023, while in the same period last year, it was Bangladesh with 1,241 landings.
Bengali citizens are now in third place for irregular landings in Italy, with 1,506 arrivals by sea, while last year it was Tunisians, at 870. The number of Tunisians arriving in Italy so far has almost doubled in the space of a year, with 1,328 landings recorded so far since the beginning of the year.