On Saturday, authorities reported that over 1,400 migrants had been brought to shore in three separate operations in Italy.
The announcement was made by the Italian coast guard, just a fortnight after a vessel carrying around 180 migrants crashed off the southern Italian coast, resulting in the deaths of at least 74 individuals, including 14 children.
The rescue efforts were initiated on Friday in the Calabria region’s waters in Southern Italy.
According to a statement by the coast guard, in one operation, a coast guard vessel measuring 310 feet in length rescued 584 migrants, while two coast guard motorboats rescued 379 migrants.
The latter group was subsequently transferred to an Italian naval vessel that was heading to a port in eastern Sicily. Meanwhile, in a separate operation, Italian authorities intercepted a boat carrying 487 people about 60 nautical miles (69 miles) from Crotone, a port city in Calabria.
The migrants were able to disembark in Crotone early on Saturday. The Italian coast guard noted that the rescue operations were “complex” due to adverse weather conditions and the overcrowding of the boats.
The recent surge in the arrival of migrants from North Africa and Turkey coincided with the announcement made by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni that the right-wing government would take strict action against human smugglers.
The announcement was followed by the passing of tougher laws against smugglers by Italian lawmakers on Thursday, as protesters hit the streets to express their dissent against the administration’s immigration policies.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 1,400 migrants lost their lives or went missing while crossing the perilous central Mediterranean route in the previous year.
This year, the agency estimates that approximately 300 individuals have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and make their way to Europe.