Two separate groups of illegal immigrants were steered to safety by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre late last night.
The first group with about 111 immigrants was rescued at 9pm, some 35 nautical miles from the Libyan Coast, while the second group while at around midnight, another distress call was launched from a boat carrying 150 in a position about 60 nautical miles from the Libyan coast.
The Malta Rescue Coordination Centre established communications with the Libyan Search and Rescue authorities and with the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Rome).
The latter confirmed that they too had been informed of the matter and were already directing a merchant vessel to the area to render assistance.
The rescue, coordinated by MRCC Rome, commenced at about 0100hrs by a merchant vessel which was later assisted by two Italian Coast Guard rescue boats.