A ship docked at the Sicilian port of Augusta on Wednesday with 453 boat migrants on board including “many” women and children, as well as seven corpses recovered during a rescue operation, port officials said.
Several pregnant women were among the migrants who arrived in Augusta aboard the ‘Phoenix’ operated by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (Moas) charity, according to officials.
A total of 8,360 people were rescued from Friday to Sunday in the Mediterranean in dozens of separate operations, the Italian Coast Guard said.
Improved spring weather may have fuelled the surge in crossings. Some 32,800 migrants have been brought to land since the beginning of the year, the International Organisation for Migration said on Tuesday.
The total number of arrivals in Italy was predicted to reach about 36,000 by Thursday, IOM said.
At least 900 migrants have died or have gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year, almost 90 percent on the treacherous route from Libya to Italy, according to IOM.