Rome, April 15 (IANS) Over 2,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the last 24 hours, the Italian Coast Guard told Efe news on Saturday.
This latest operation was set in motion on Friday in collaboration with the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and has so far rescued 2,074 people crossing the Strait of Sicily -- the channel of water separating southern Italy from the North African coast.
The migrants were found travelling on separate vessels, including three small wooden boats and 16 rubber boats, in one of which MSF found the body of a teenager, according to the NGO's official Twitter account.
Two MSF vessels were taking part in the rescue efforts.
The Italian Coast Guard, which coordinates operations in the area, said the number of migrant arrivals to the coast could yet increase as rescue operations were continuing throughout Saturday.
According to the Italian ISMU Foundation, an independent organisation that tracks migrant trends in the region, some 24,000 migrants landed on Italian shores between January and March of this year, including 2,293 unaccompanied minors.
These figures suggested a 30 per cent increase in migrant arrivals compared to the same period in 2016.