Rescuers save 1,151 migrants off Libya coast, says Italy

The Italian coastguard said it had coordinated the rescue Monday of 1,151 migrants in 11 separate operations off the Libyan coast.

AFP| Updated: Sep 29, 2015, 04:01 AM IST

Rome: The Italian coastguard said it had coordinated the rescue Monday of 1,151 migrants in 11 separate operations off the Libyan coast.

In the biggest operation, a coastguard ship picked up 441 people from four inflatable boats, it said in a statement.

Separately, the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) said its ship Dignity 1 had saved 373 people, including 62 women and 10 children.

"Many are suffering from shock," MSF said on Twitter, showing a picture of a distressed six-year-old boy in the arms of a rescuer.

The survivors were transferred to Italy, said an MSF spokesman who asked not to be named

On September 19, more than 4,500 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya were rescued in joint operations by European ships. An MSF vessel carried out 800 of the rescues that day.

Libya has for years been a stepping stone for migrants seeking to travel to Europe.

People smugglers have taken advantage of conflict and political chaos in Libya since its 2011 revolution to step up their lucrative business.