The Italian navy has rescued more than a thousand mostly African migrants in Mediterranean waters south of Sicily.
The start of the year is usually a period for heavy traffic and despite the deaths of hundreds in shipwrecks last year, the immigration crisis shows no sign of letting up.
In October, 366 Eritreans drowned near the island of Lampedusa.
In one of the latest incidents, more than 200 migrants were picked up by the navy in choppy seas and ferried on to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast.
Sea arrivals to Italy from Northern Africa more than tripled in 2013, fuelled by refugees from Syria’s civil war and political strife in the Horn of Africa.