Italian crews have rescued a boatload of migrants who say they were at sea for 12 days, as the U.N. Security Council gears up to hear first-hand about the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

The rescue of the 98 passengers — a third of them women and three of them pregnant — was the latest as waves of migrants try to reach Europe aboard smugglers' boats.

The Italian border patrol police said Wednesday its Monte Cimone ship intercepted the 50-meter migrant boat about 200 miles off Sicily. Passengers reported having been at sea for 12 days, the last two adrift and without food or water and with the ship's hold flooded.

The EU's foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, is due to brief the Security Council on the situation Monday.