The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that since the beginning of 2016 almost 181,476 of migrants have come to Europe via sea. The IOM also estimates that every month about 300 person have died trying to cross the Mediterranean.
This time last year, almost 500 people lost their life on one single day in one of the biggest catastrophes on the Mediterranean.
Survivors of migrant shipwreck claim hundreds died in the mediterranean
Survivor Tells of Mediterranean Sea Disaster That May Have Killed 500 Migrants
Deadliest January on record for refugees raises alarm
What is the European Union's response?
Two joint operations of Frontex are taking place in the Mediterranean, the Triton Joint operation in the Central Mediterranean, replacing the former Italian Mare Nostrum operation, and the Poseidon operation in the Aegean Sea and the Hera operation in the West Mediterranean.
Frontex patrols the Mediterranean through different Joint Operations: the Triton Joint operation in central Mediterranean that takes place of the previous Italian operation Mare Nostrum, the Poseidon operation on the Aegean Sea and Hera operation on the west Mediterranean.
The Joint Operations have a dual aim of patrolling the sea to prevent irregular migration and, according to the European Regulation 656/2014, initiating search and rescue operations at sea. In accordance with the SOLAS and SAR agreements about safety at sea, migrants should be brought to a safe country after rescue. However, the definition of these "safe countries" differs from the EU's definition of "safe third countries" to which the refugees are deported.
Despite this, people continue to die at sea and the European Union fails to provide an efficient response to the migration crisis. The problems are tightly linked to the scarce opportunities for migrants to arrive in Europe legally.