Hundreds rescued from People Traffickers
Naval vessels from Italy and Ireland rescued hundreds of migrants from smuggler boats in the Mediterranean on Saturday as ships from several countries, including Britain, coped with waves of people setting sail from Libya in human trafficking operations.
An Italian ship, Driade, rescued 560 migrants, including women and children, in an hours-long operation after a smuggler's boat ran into problems, the navy said.
An Irish vessel, LE Eithne, rescued 310 people, including 39 children, who were on a barge about 30 miles (50km) north of the Libyan coast, the Irish Defence Forces said. Eithne had already rescued 113 people on Friday.
Among ships charged with rescue duties was a British warship, HMS Bulwark, which was travelling towards the area to help a number of migrant boats during the search and rescue mission, the Ministry of Defence said. Two British helicopters helped pinpoint migrant boats in distress.
Italy has pressed European partners to do more to help it rescue and shelter masses of migrants fleeing poverty, persecution and conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Last year, Italy brought 170,000 rescued migrants to Italian ports.