Migrant crisis

2,700 migrants rescued off Italian coast

2,700 migrants rescued off Italian coast
A doctor carries a baby and holds the hand of a woman after migrants disembarked from the Italian Coast Guard patrol vessel Dattilo on July 11th in Palermo. Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP
Around 2,700 migrants were rescued on Wednesday off the coast of Italy, as Europe struggles to deal with a swelling tide of arrivals from across the Mediterranean.

The migrants were saved in 13 separate operations near Sicily as they sailed for Europe mainly aboard inflatable boats, the coast guard said in a statement.

Five of the migrant boats were rescued by the Bourbon Argos – Doctors Without Borders's (MSF's) ship – and another two were saved by the German navy vessel Werra.

Around 75,000 migrants have arrived on Italy's shores since the beginning of the year, compared to 64,000 during the first six months of 2014.

The International Organization for Migration said on Friday that some 150,000 migrants and refugees have made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year, and more than 1,900 of them have died.