Italian navy and coast guard ships have rescued around 1500 migrants on board five boats in the Mediterranean in less than 24 hours.
Three of the migrants‘ boats had sent rescue requests via satellite phones after getting into difficulty. The other two were spotted by the Italian vessels while answering the rescue calls.
After being taken on board the Italian ships they were taken either to the island of Lampedusa or ports in Sicily.
About 170,000 migrants entered the European Union through Italy last year by way of the dangerous sea crossing organised by human traffickers. Most departed from Libya.
As estimated 3,000 have died in the attempt.