Spring is the deadliest season in the Mediterranean Sea. Unscrupulous traffickers exploit the desperation of thousands of people fleeing violence and chaos in Africa and the Middle East, cramming them onto unsafe boats and pointing them toward European shores, indifferent to their survival — and in some cases, deliberately sending them to their deaths. Two horrific incidents in April resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people, focusing the spotlight once again on the cynicism and savagery of the traffickers, and the incompetence and indifference of the European governments that are failing to respond to this crime.

According to official estimates, 35,000 people have migrated across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in the first four months of 2015; in one weekend alone in April, the Italian Coast Guard rescued nearly 8,500 migrants. In just one day, they received more than 20 SOS distress calls. Over the past year, European authorities reckon that 200,000 people have made the journey north. Unfortunately, an ever larger number of them are not completing that trip.

Last year more than 3,400 people died during the journey. The death toll is estimated to have topped 1,000 in April alone. In some cases, the tragedy is the product of desperation, with just too many people attempting a crossing in unseaworthy vessels, with untrained captains and no equipment to ensure that they reach their destination. In the most recent tragedy, more than 800 people were crammed into a 23 meter-long boat.