Italy’s navy and coast guard ships rescued around 1,500 migrants from five boats in the Mediterranean on Saturday, after three of the vessels got into difficulties off the coast of Libya and sent distress signals via satellite phones, the BBC reports.
The other two boats were spotted by the Italian ships while en route to help the vessels in distress.
The migrants were transferred to one navy and two coast guard ships, and transported to either the island of Lampedusa, or Augusta and Porto Empedocle in Sicily.
According to the official reports, the number of migrant crossings has increased by 43% in 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.
More than 3,500 people died and more than 200,000 were rescued in 2014 while trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, according to UNHCR.
World Maritime News Staff