Photo Essay: Mediterranean Sea Swallows Migrants To Europe

| May 15 , 2015 , 21:11 IST
Nearly nine times more migrants have died so far this year in Mediterranean crossings compared to last year at this time — swallowed by the sea as Europe beckons. Why is this the year of so many deaths? There is no single reason. A chain of factors interlock, overlap and unfold into catastrophe on the high seas. Smugglers are bolder and increasingly ruthless. They're taking more risks with unseaworthy vessels, and sometimes sending migrants out with no one at the helm. The phasing out last fall of Italy's Mare Nostrum rescue operation, which used big ships to comb the sea far and wide, has left a gaping void that is filled in part by hulking merchant ships ill-equipped to pluck panicked souls from small, capsizing vessels. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="36068,36069,36078,36079,36077,36071,36072,36070,36073,36076,36086,36088,36090"]