Ireland and France are the latest European Union nations answering Italy's pleas for help with the rescue of migrants' who are risking their lives on smugglers' boats in the Mediterranean.

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said Saturday that an Irish patrol boat was arriving in the Mediterranean.

Two German ships and a British vessel are already pitching in, after Italy appealed for help with the migrants, who arrive daily by the hundreds or by the thousands on overcrowded, unseaworthy fishing boats and dinghies setting sail from Libya, where the smugglers are based. Pinotti said France has also expressed willingness to help.

Hundreds of migrants saved by a vessel operated by a private organization and by one of the German ships reached port Saturday in Sicily and on the Italian mainland.