Dozens of migrants were rescued on Saturday off western Greece

Dozens of migrants were rescued on Saturday off western Greece after their vessel sent a distress call, the coast guard said.

The 131 migrants, whose nationalities have not been revealed, said to have been trying to reach Italy, according to initial reports.

Around five of them had managed to reach the shore by themselves, according to the Athens News Agency.

The migrants sent a distress call to the European emergency telephone number 112 from the 18-metre vessel after bad weather conditions overnight.

The boat docked at the western Greek port of Methoni in the Peloponnese peninsula with the help of the harbour police and all those aboard were safe.

Smugglers are trying to explore new migrant routes afters the closure of the so-called Balkan route by the eastern European governments.

Since then the flow of migrants has shifted back towards people crossing to Italy from North Africa, with 140,000 making this trip since the start of this year.

More than 4,650 migrants were saved on Tuesday off the Libyan coast and 32 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued in the last 48 hours to nearly 11,000, Italy’s coast guard said on Wednesday.

More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday and Tuesday to 50.

Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily.