Some 500 migrants mainly from Eritrea were rescued on Monday by a Spanish humanitarian organization ‘Proactiva Open Arms’ off the coast of Libya.
The migrants, including infants and small children, were intercepted in a wooden boat near the coast of Sabratah, said ‘Proactiva’ which was coordinating the rescue operation.
Some of the migrants had jumped into the water and were retrieved and pulled up by rescuers.
It was one of several migrant boats rescued in the area on Monday.
Proactiva was to transfer the migrants to the larger vessels of the Italian coast guard and the medical charity, Medicine Sans Frontiers who would in turn transfer them to the Italian mainland or to Sicily.
On Sunday, some boats filled with mainly Somali migrants, were intercepted by Proactiva with women crying as they were brought onto the rescue boat.
The Italian coast guard said some 1,100 migrants were rescued from makeshift boats in the Strait of Sicily on Sunday.
New data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) last Friday indicated that some 105,342 migrants had reached Italy by boat this year with many of them setting sail from Libya.
Nearly 3,000 men, women and children have also died over the same period trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean often in small vessels.
Italy has been on the front line of the latest European migrant crisis with more than 400,000 migrants having successfully made the voyage to Italy from North Africa since the beginning of 2014, fleeing violence and poverty.