Nearly 4,100 migrants are rescued from boats in the Mediterranean, as the influx of those trying to reach Europe continues, Italy’s coast guard says.
All of those rescued were being brought back to Italian shores, a spokesman for the coast guard said, and some reached Lampedusa, Italy‘s southernmost island, during the night.
Read Matt Frei's blog: Italy's migrant crisis - on the frontline in Augusta
The mild spring weather and the calm summer seas are expected to push total arrivals in Italy for 2015 to 200,000, an increase of 30,000 over last year, according to an interior ministry projection.
The nationalities of those rescued had not yet been determined, the authorities said.
Italy coordinated the rescue efforts mounted by a total of 17 vessels. Italy’s navy, coast guard and finance police were involved, as was a French ship acting on behalf of the European border control agency.
Growing lawlessness and anarchy in Libya is giving free hand to people-smugglers who make an average of 80,000 euros (£59,000) from each boatload of migrants, according to an ongoing investigation by a southern Italian court.
Shocked by what was described as the most deadly Mediterranean shipwreck in memory last month, EU leaders agreed to triple funding for its Triton sea patrol mission after a migrant boat capsized and up to 900 drowned.