A workshop on investigating migrant shipwrecks and their accountability, drawing from our experience in conducting investigations on deadly wrecks in the Mediterranean. With the recently signed Migration Pact in the EU forcing people to take more dangerous routes to Europe, and harsh enforcement policies affecting migration pathways to the United States, it is almost inevitable that there will be more mass-casualty events in the year ahead. The ability to investigate deadly shipwrecks and hold state authorities accountable in relation to these events is more necessary than ever.

Through our work last year we published two major investigations on migrant shipwrecks. In April, we published an award-winning investigation with colleagues from Sudeutsche Zietung, Sky News, and El Pais on the Crotone shipwreck off the coast of Italy which claimed upwards of 100 lives. In June, we published an investigation with Der Spiegel, Le Monde and the Times on the Pylos shipwreck that occurred off the coast of Greece this summer claiming 600 lives.

Through this work, we developed techniques and workflows unique to the process of investigating mass-casualty events related to migrant shipwrecks which we think are important to share with our colleagues. The workshop will highlight the importance of digital forensic methodologies in such investigations with an emphasis on signal data (ADSB, AIS, Inmarsat, etc.), remote sensing (optical and sat imagery), open-source approaches (social media scraping, visual evidence collection).

We will explain the acquisition and application of these methods in the context of a shipwreck investigation. We will also discuss the mapping and visualisation workflows which are important for analysis and publication. Specifically, we will discuss the use of mapping software for cartography and analysis, 3D reconstruction and analysis, motion graphic visualisation.

We will finish the workshop by discussing the importance of mixed methodologies in this approach, specifically highlighting the need for person-to-person source work and interviews.

Organised in association with Lighthouse Reports.