Italian authorities on the weekend rescued some 3,700 illegal migrants who were sailing from North Africa to Italy in more than a dozen boats, a communique from the Coast Guard said.
Coast guard personnel said 3,690 migrants were rescued in 17 separate operations.
Italy continues to receive waves of African immigrants due to its geographic position, which makes it a bridge between Africa and Europe, to which desperate people flee to escape armed conflicts and the lack of economic opportunities in their home countries, reports Efe.
More than 3,300 migrants on Sunday and Monday will be brought by the coast guard to the Italian regions of Sicily and Calabria, local media reported.
The flow of illegal migrants has increased recently with the onset of the summer season and good weather in the Mediterranean Sea between the North African coast and Italy, however, occasionally the voyages end in tragedy, as occurred on April 19, when an overcrowded boat foundered and about 850 migrants drowned, according to survivors.
Meanwhile, the Libyan coast guard foiled an attempt by some 500 people of different nationalities to set sail for Europe from a spot 60 km east of Tripoli. The migrants were preparing to depart in five inflatable boats but before they got far they were intercepted by coast guard patrol craft.