ROME (AFP) – More than 4,500 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean Tuesday in 30 separate operations in the Strait of Sicily, said Italy’s coastguard, which coordinated the missions.
More than 1,100 people were saved by a single Italian coastguard patrol vessel which took on board the passengers of a stricken wooden boat and five dinghies.
The wooden boat alone had 435 migrants aboard, including 124 women and 18 children, according to the coastguard.
Four Italian naval vessels saved more than 900 others, while boats belonging to charities and aid groups, the EU border patrol agency Frontex and the EU’s Sophia anti-people smuggling mission rescued the remaining migrants.
The Italian interior ministry said last week that a total of 70,930 people landed between January and June — almost exactly the same number as the same period in 2015 and only slightly higher than in 2014.
The full-year total of migrant arrivals for 2015 was 153,000.
More than 10,000 migrants have perished since 2014, including more than 2,800 so far this year, the UNHCR said last month.