A boat carrying some 65 migrants was intercepted south of Malta late yesterday evening.

The migrants, including Syrians, Bangladeshis, Kashmiris, Somalis and Eritreans, were transferred to a patrol boat  which brought them to Malta this morning.  

That raises the number of arrivals so far this year to over 900. Earlier this month a group of 113 migrants was also brought to Malta on a patrol boat.

The number of arrivals so far this year is similar to that seen in the first half of the busiest migration year ever (2008).

896 arrived  in the first six months of 2008, which then closed with a record 2,775 migrants.

However, month-by-month statistics for the past six years shows Malta’s experience of immigration makes projections very difficult to attempt.

For instance, this year’s migrant arrivals are also comparable to those seen in 2009, which then ended with one of the lowest annual figures of the last six years. This was the year that coincided with the EU’s European Parliament election, where a lull in arrivals between March and July was attributed to a lot of tough talk on migration during the campaign.

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