BARCELONA, Spain – The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):
Italian rescue ships have plucked some 2,000 migrants from unseaworthy smugglers' boats off the coast of Libya, with hundreds of them arriving southern Italian ports.
A rescue ship on Saturday brought 504 migrants and one corpse to Pozzallo, Sicily, and while another boat brought about 500 other migrants to Augusta, Sicily.
In all, Italy's coast guard coordinated about 20 separate rescues on Friday. The rest of the migrants were due to reach Calabria on the Italian mainland on Sunday.
Separately, authorities said on Saturday some 40 Algerians in three small boats reached Sardinia's coast.
So far this year, some 29,000 migrants, most of them fleeing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, have arrived in Italy after being rescued by European military ships or private charity organizations. Their numbers are expected to rise with spring's good weather.
Spain's maritime rescue said Saturday it has rescued 125 migrants trying to make nighttime crossings from Africa in three smuggling boats.
All three of the small boats were located before daybreak on Saturday.
The first boat, carrying 41 men and 11 women of sub-Saharan origin, was located by rescue teams shortly after midnight in the Alboran Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar. The Red Cross said all were in good health.
A second group of 62 North African males, including 11 minors, was packed into a wooden boat when rescued just west of the Strait in the Atlantic Ocean.
Eleven more migrants of unknown origin were pulled from a small vessel in the Mediterranean Sea after a NATO aircraft alerted the maritime rescue service. The Red Cross said six of the migrants required treatment for burns, including one that needed hospitalization.
Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries, try to reach the shores of Spain and Italy by boat each year.