Concerns about the safety of people travelling in the Mediterranean Sea in small boats has grown since the early 1990s when all the countries of the southern Mediterranean were included in the European Union’s visa black list.1 The destination that is normally assumed, regarding people in unseaworthy little boats, is Europe. While there was much discussion of movement of people to the southern shores of Spain in the 1990s, now the debate is primarily about movement to Lampedusa and southern Italy, and in the eastern Mediterranean to Greece, primarily the islands.2 The accuracy of estimates of deaths is problematic, not least as there has been little in-depth research on the subject. They range however from a few thousand to tens of thousands, and the time periods vary by decades. One large research project in Europe is currently trying to count the numbers of people who have drowned in the Mediterranean through an investigation of the death registries in southern European towns and municipalities.3 Other interesting work is being carried out on practices for burial of bodies found in relation to irregular border crossings in Greece.4 The subject is, however, for the moment, informed more by incidents that catch the attention and moral outrage of the media.