The Italian Coast Guard have rescued more than 3,000 migrants in the Strait of Sicily over the weekend, officials said on Monday.
Forty-eight rescue operations were conducted over the weekend, Coast Guard officials told Efe news. However, the numbers were set to rise as two new operations were ongoing on Monday, the Coast Guard said. The actions were part of the European Union collaborative maritime rescue programme, dubbed EUNAVFOR Med. One ship belonging to Italian Coast Guard, the Dattilo, rescued 1,477 people alone. Another vessel, commanded by the SOS Mediterranee NGO and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) saved another 946 late on Saturday.
At least 15,852 migrants have been rescued from this body of water so far in 2017, signifying a 67 per cent increase for the same period year-on-year.
The Italian government estimated that 250,000 migrants would attempt to make it to the country’s shores this year.