Two people suspected of human trafficking were arrested on Wednesday on their arrival at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo in Italy after being rescued at sea.
Between Monday and Wednesday, about 6500 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast in 40 separate missions.
Packed on board a number of boats, the migrants, some carrying babies, were brought aboard the rescue vessels along with the suspected smugglers.
Italian police officer Sergio Savastano told the media that the large numbers of boats made it necessary for the police to act quickly, “so we immediately put to sea our smaller vessels in order to hand out individual life vests to each migrant and then bring them on board,” he said.
Meanwhile Pope Francis on Wednesday announced several changes that will see him personally oversee migration issues, saying “there cannot be a service for integral human development without paying particular attention to the phenomenon of migration.
The changes which include the merging of four Vatican offices into the so-called “Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development” are detailed in a document titled ‘Motu Popruno’.
The Pope says the new office will spearhead the Church’s humanitarian work internationally, including oversight of funds allocated to charities involved in assisting migrants.