Italy says nearly 6,000 refugees were rescued while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea during a 48-hour period.
The Italian Coast Guard said on June 7 that the refugees were picked up by rescue teams from Italy, German, Britain, and other European nations in a total of 30 operations.
A majority of the 5,851 refugees were plucked from the water on June 6-7 some 80 kilometers off the coast of Libya. All of them were expected to be taken to Italy.
The number of refugees and migrants risking the often perilous journey across the sea from Africa to Europe this year is on the rise. The UN estimates that more than 1,800 have drowned.
The EU has responded by increasing its presence in the Mediterranean but is wrestling with how to deal with the refugees once they arrive onshore.
Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters