1,000 migrants have been rescued from leaking boats in the middle of the Mediterranean.
At least one person was found dead.
An Italian coast guard ship, the Spanish humanitarian group Proactiva Open Arms and a Caribbean-registered supply vessel went to the aid of six rubber dinghies and three wooden vessels on Friday.
“A dead body was recovered from one of the rubber boats,” the coastguard said in a statement.
No details have been given about the migrants’
The Central Mediterranean route
The sea crossing from Libya to Italy is now the main route for migrants seeking better lives in Europe.
A record 181,000 mainly African boat migrants reached Italy last year.
The total number of arrivals over the last three years is more than half a million.
The latest migrant numbers – Euronews fact check
IOM (@UNmigration) January 27, 2017
The International Organisation for Migration says 3,829 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea since the start of 2017.
More than two-thirds arrived in Italy and the rest in Greece, the organisation says.
This compares with 48,029 during the first 25 days of January, 2016.
246 deaths were reported on various routes, compared to 210 over the same period last year.
Read more here
What is the EU doing about the situation?
The EU is looking at new proposals to handle migrants and refugees arriving on its territory to seek asylum.
Sources say there is a deadline of mid-year to come to an agreement on the stalled reform of asylum rules.
There is reportedly disagreement between Germany and the Mediterranean states on one hand and eastern nations like Poland and Hungary on the other over how to handle the arrivals.
After talks with EU counterparts this week, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said they are considering a three-tier system for low, high and very high volumes of arrivals.