The Italian coast guard has confirmed that 741 migrants drifting in the Mediterranean, including children and women, were rescued on Thursday in the strait of Sicily.
The migrants were travelling from Libya, aiming to reach Europe in 6 vessels , five of which were inflatable 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 the British, Irish and German naval vessels.
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 the 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.