The Italian coast guard has confirmed that from Friday to Saturday, 4,200 migrants, including women and children, were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea and have reached the southern coasts of Taranto, Italy.
It has also been confirmed that the rescue boats carried the bodies of 17 dead immigrants. The rescued immigrants have been placed in temporary houses in Italy.
The migrants were traveling from Libya, aiming to reach Europe in 22 boats.
The European Union’s border control agency Frontex supported the rescue operation organised by the Italian coast guard and carried out with the aid of British, Irish and German naval vessels.
The number of 4,200 migrants which Frontex managed to rescue within one day is the highest in recent years.
The spokesman of International Organization for Migration (IOM), Flavio di Giacomo said that "it happens a lot in waves, you could have a few days where nothing happens, then there can be a high number of arrivals at the same time."
Italy, which is leading the rescue operations in the Mediterranean, is struggling to cope with the migrant influx.
The United Nations refugee agency estimated that close to 40,000 people arrived on Italian shores between the start of the year and May.
Over 1,850 people have died in deadly attempts to reach Europe by sea.
The current situation in the Mediterranean has left the EU alarmed and forced it to take action after more than 800 migrants died in an overcrowded vessel which capsized on April 19.
Following the tragic incident the EU decided to increase patrols in the Mediterranean Sea to prevent human trafficking.
A recent draft document was released by the European Union which recommends distributing 40,000 migrants across EU countries to share the burden on Italy and Greece, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The European Union has also approved a naval mission intended to use military force to stop boats and human traffickers smuggling people into Europe.
The naval mission was agreed upon by EU foreign and defence ministers on May 18 and is expected to start in June. It aims to destroy the boats owned by smugglers carrying migrants to Europe.