Some 6,500 migrants rescued off Libya

 A rescue boat of the Spanish NGO Proactiva approaches an overcrowded wooden vessel with migrants from Eritrea, off the Libyan coast in Mediterranean Sea.
A rescue boat of the Spanish NGO Proactiva approaches an overcrowded wooden vessel with migrants from Eritrea, off the Libyan coast in Mediterranean Sea.PHOTO: REUTERS
A member of the Spanish NGO Proactiva rescues a migrant from Eritrea as others cling to a floatation rescue device, off the Libyan coast in Mediterranean Sea.
A member of the Spanish NGO Proactiva rescues a migrant from Eritrea as others cling to a floatation rescue device, off the Libyan coast in Mediterranean Sea.PHOTO: REUTERS
Migrants from Eritrea are seen on an overcrowded wooden vessel during a rescue operation by the Spanish NGO Proactiva on Aug 29.
Migrants from Eritrea are seen on an overcrowded wooden vessel during a rescue operation by the Spanish NGO Proactiva on Aug 29.PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - The Italian coastguard said it had coordinated the rescue of about 6,500 migrants off Libya in one of its busiest days of life-saving in recent years.

Dramatic images showed migrants wearing life jackets jumping off one of their boats into the Mediterranean and swimming toward rescuers on Monday (Aug 29).

"The command centre coordinated 40 rescue operations" that included vessels from Italy, humanitarian organisations as well as the EU's border agency Frontex, and "saved 6,500 migrants", the coastguard wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday, more than 1,100 migrants were rescued in the same area, though August has been slightly less busy than years past.

The total number of arrivals in Italy this year, prior to Monday's rescue, was at around 105,000, according to the UN refugee agency.

More than 3,000 migrants have died at sea while trying to reach either Greece or Italy since the start of this year, an increase of some 50 per cent over the same period in 2015.