3866 undocumented migrants have been rescued by the Italian Navy in boats between Sicily and the North African coast over the past weekend, authorities say.
According to a statement by the navy, the illegal immigrants rescued between Friday and Sunday were aboard boats that had set off from North Africa.
Since the beginning of the year around 114,000 immigrants have arrived on Italian shores, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry.
The rescue effort is costing 300,000 euros ($394,000) a day and Italy has requested assistance from the European Commission which last week announced the launch of the enhanced role of the European Agency for the Management of the External Borders (Frontex), known as Frontex Plus.
Frontex Plus is designed mainly to help Italy manage the influx of immigrants in the Mediterranean and depends on voluntary contributions from other countries of the European Union.