The death toll in the Mediterranean – the most dangerous border crossing on the planet for migrants and refugees – is estimated to be at least 4,655 this year. This is around 1,000 more than in all of 2015, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

More than 1,4000 boat migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe were rescued on Tuesday (23 November), after at least 11 overcrowded boats set out from Libya amid calm seas. Rescuers also recovered eight dead bodies. The coast guard ship Diciotti took seven bodies from a rubber boat, while one body was recovered from another rubber vessel by the Topaz, a ship run by humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).

Getty Images photographer Dan Kitwood spent some time on the Topaz and captured dramatic pictures of rescues at sea.

The number of migrants who have reached Italy by boat this year so far is 168,000. This exceeds the 154,000 total for the whole of 2015 and is quickly approaching 2014's 170,000 record. Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb the flow of migrants sailing for Greece.

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