A Danish ship owner says one of its vessels has rescued some 222 people in two boats off the coast of Libya.

Jesper Jensen, a spokesman for the Denmark-based Torm company, says its Singapore-flagged oil tanker Torm Arawa on Monday responded to call from the Italian coast guard after two boats carrying migrants were reported in distress off the coast off Libya.

Company spokesman Jesper Jensen said Tuesday it picked up the people, gave them food, water and blankets and sailed them to a port in Italy's southern region of Calabria.

Jensen said he was pleased the crew had saved so many lives.

In past months, thousands of migrants have been crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy and Greece. Some 2,000 are missing and feared dead.