Cameron: Deploy more patrols close to Libyan coast to send people-smugglers' boats back

Cameron wants more sea patrols to deter people-smuggling of migrants Credit: Michael Debets/Zuma

David Cameron has asked EU leaders to back the deployment of more international patrol ships close to the coast of Libya in a bid to deter thousands of refugees and migrants from trying to illegally cross the Mediterranean.

Speaking at a European summit to discuss the migrant crisis on Thursday night the Prime Minister called on member states to start adopting a tougher "deterrent strategy" and said they should be sending back people-smuggling boats immediately after they launch.

According to reports Cameron told leaders the EU should be opening discussions with the newly-established Libyan government of national accord on the extension of its current sea patrol operations.

Currently patrols are only able to operate in international waters and cannot sail close to the Libyan coastline where many of the people-smuggling boats launch from.

Highlighting how effective he believes sea patrols could be as a deterrent Cameron said that "what matters is actually busting the business model of those people-smugglers and therefore breaking the link between getting on a boat and getting settlement in Europe".