A flotilla of ships saved 668 people from boats in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, authorities in Italy said, bringing the week’s total of refugees plucked from the sea to 13,000 people.
The rescues by the Italian coast guard and navy ships, aided by Irish and German vessels and humanitarian groups, are the latest by a multinational patrol south of the Italian island of Sicily.
Warner spring weather has led to a surge of people attempting the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe.
The Irish military said the vessel Le Roisin saved 123 people from a 12m-long (40-ft) rubber dinghy and recovered a male body. A German ship was involved in four separate rescue operations, the Italian coast guard said on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, with shelters filling up in Sicily, the Italian navy vessel Vega headed toward Reggio Calabria, a southern Italian mainland port, bringing 135 survivors and 45 bodies from a rescue a day earlier. The Vega was due to dock on Sunday.
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