3 Jan 2014

Migrants saved in two rescues

1:15 pm on 3 January 2014

More than 300 migrants have been saved in separate incidents off the coasts of Italy and Greece.

The Italian navy said it picked up 233 people in an "overcrowded" vessel south of Sicily.

And Greek Coast Guards rescued 85 people off the island of Astypalaia after receiving a distress signal in bad weather.

In October more than 400 people drowned in two shipwrecks near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Many of them were from Eritrea and Somalia.

The BBC reports that Italian officials said on Thursday that the migrants were rescued about 130km from Lampedusa.

In a statement, the navy said they had been ferried to Sicily.

They are reported to have come from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Mali and Pakistan.