A rescue ship is heading for the Italian port of Brindisi on Friday with 118 migrants picked up from flimsy boats in rough seas in the Maltese rescue zone.
Non-profit group, Emergency, says crew from the private ship, Life Support, conducted two different operations overnight Wednesday to Thursday.
The first boat was wooden and had 77 people on board. It had reportedly almost run out of fuel and had started taking on water.
There were 41 people on the second vessel, which was made of fibreglass, and which had suffered several cracks.
Among the migrants rescued were people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, and the Palestinian Territories.
Emergency said there were four unaccompanied minors, including one girl, among them.
The number of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean – one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world – has increased sharply this year.
According to Italy’s Interior Ministry, over 145,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea in 2023.