In less than just 24 hours, officers said Sunday that Italian navy and coast guard ships rescued around 1,500 migrants aboard five boats in the southern Mediterranean, reports Reuters.
Reuters reported that Italian coast guard said in a statement that one of the migrants was rescued on Saturday by two coast guard ships and one navy ship in five separate operations. According to reports, three of the migrants' boats were in difficulty and sent rescue requests via satellite phones while they were off the coast of Libya. The Italian vessels spotted the other two while heading for the others.
The statement said the migrants were all trans boarded onto the Italian ships and were being taken to either the island of Lampedusa or ports in Sicily.
Overall, Reuters said that some 170,000 migrants entered the European Union through Italy last year by way of the dangerous sea crossing organized by human traffickers, most departing from Libya. More than 3,000 perished. During the first two months of this year, arrivals were up 43 percent versus the same period of 2014, officials reportedly said (Source: Reuters)