Ship crew members pulled more than 2,000 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean today, Italy's coastguard said, as people smugglers stepped up operations during two consecutive days of good weather.
More than 7,100 people have now been rescued from international waters since Thursday, many of them on the dangerous journey from Libya.
Europe's worst immigration crisis since World War II is in its third year, and there has been little sign of any let up of the flow of people coming from North Africa to Italy since last year.
Ships belonging to Doctors without Borders, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, Italy's navy, the European Union's border agency Frontex, and the bloc's anti-people-smuggling mission Sophia, all helped take the migrants off nine boats today.
About 60,000 boat migrants have been brought to Italy so far this year, according to the interior ministry.