Some 3,000 migrants were on Saturday rescued off the coast of Libya, according to the Italian coast guard.
The coastguard received SOS calls from 18 vessels – four boats and 14 rubber dinghies – according to Italian news agency ANSA.
The rescue mission was one of the largest to date.
Two Italian naval ships and various other Italian vessels were called in – as well as a Norwegian military ship, part of an EU patrol mission
Meanwhile, police in the Sicilian city of Palermo have arrested six Egyptian nationals on suspicion of people smuggling after a rescue on Wednesday.
The arrests came after a rescued vessel was found to be carrying 432 people – more than ten times as many people as it was designed for.