01:53 GMT +312 December 2018
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    Migrants and refugees call out to Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms workers, after being located out of control sailing on a rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea, about 18 miles north of Sabratha, Libya

    Around 500 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast in Mediterranean Sea

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    ROME (Sputnik) - Around 500 migrants were rescued close off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, the Italian coast guard said.

    A ship of the European Union’s EUNAVFOR mission in the Mediterranean and German humanitarian vessel Sea Watch 3 took part in three rescue operations coordinated by Italy, the coast guard added.

    In recent years, the European countries have been facing a large-scale migration crisis with hundreds of thousands of people arriving in the EU member states from the Middle East and Northern Africa in order to find asylum or better living conditions.

    According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures, 16,847 migrants and refugees have entered Europe via the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of 2018, while the number of migrants who died in the Mediterranean en route to Europe amounted to 557. In 2017, Mediterranean migrant arrivals reached 171,635, while the number of deaths was 3,116.

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    migrants, Italian Coast Guard, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Italy, Libya
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