(By Estera Popowska)
More than 3,400 migrants were rescued at sea on Saturday just weeks after Europe embarked on searching ways to deal with influx of thousands of people trying to reach Europe.
AFP says a total of 3,427 people were picked up during the operation coordinated by the Italian coast guard who rescued 3,791 migrants on April 12 and another 2,850 the following day.
According to reports, French patrol boat Commandant Birot, which was sent to boost EU patrols to deal with the influx of migrant boats in the Mediterranean, picked up 217 people off the coast of Libya.
The migrants , all men, had reportedly been on board three boats, the authorities said, adding that two suspected people smugglers were also caught and would be handed over to Italian police.
In Italy, the coast guard announced late at night that 16 vessels had rescued a total of 3,427 people on Saturday alone in an operation coordinated from their headquarters in Rome.
Following a series of shipwrecks which killed more than 1,200 people in April, European leaders at an extraordinary summit on April 23 agreed to strengthen the EU presence at sea in a bid to halt the tidal wave of refugees trying to reach Europe. (AFP)