ROME (Reuters) - Rescuers pulled 1,725 migrants to safety from boats in the Mediterranean on Thursday, Italy’s coast guard said, as seaborne arrivals to Europe’s southern shores keep climbing.
Sixteen separate missions were involved in rescuing the migrants, including Italy’s coast guard and navy, the European Union’s anti people-smuggling mission, two humanitarian organizations and two merchant ships, the coast guard said.
It did not say where the migrants, who were traveling in 14 rubber and two wooden boats, originally came from. Most arriving in Italy tend to be from sub-Saharan Africa.
Continued lawlessness in Libya and calmer seas this week have contributed to a spike in the number of people making the risky crossing from North Africa to Europe’s southern frontier.
Italy has become the main focus for seaborne migration to Europe since the European Union struck a deal with Turkey in March to stem flows into Greece.
Around 105,000 people arrived in Italy between the beginning of this year and Aug. 26, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Dominic Evans