Over 4,600 migrants rescued off the Libyan coast this weekend

Published December 6th, 2015 - 01:30 GMT

AFP reports that over 4,600 migrants have been rescued from flimsy boats off the Libyan coast by the Italian coast guard this weekend.

On Saturday, nine separate rescue missions pulled 1,123 people from two sinking boats and seven inflated dinghies, according to the coast guard operations center in Rome. 

AFP reports that the Italian coast guard received support from the German navel ship Berlin. They are collaborating with the EU on Operation Sophia - a naval mission to stop over-sea human trafficking into Europe.

The number of asylum seekers and migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean for Europe dropped by more than a third in the past month. Turkey and other border countries have enacted stronger methods against smugglers.

The weather and water conditions have grown increasingly perilous as it becomes winter. This past weekend had unseasonably calm weather, prompting thousands to board unseaworthy, overcrowded vessels, to attempt the journey from Libya to Italy.

The International Organization for Migration estimated that over 3,500 migrants and asylum seekers have died in 2015 while crossing the Mediterranean.

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