VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — The Latest on migrants in Europe (all times local):
Italian authorities say they have taken 54 migrants from Pakistan to a migrant center after finding them aboard a sailboat off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy.
The Italian ANSA news agency says two Russian nationals aboard the U.S.-flagged boat were arrested and accused of seeking to smuggle the migrants into Italy on Friday night. The agency says the migrants are all men. Officials believe the boat left from Bodrum, Turkey.
Italy’s financial police discovered the boat and towed it to Crotone, a port town on the Ionian Sea in Calabria. Officials say the men were in decent health.
Maltese officials say good weather conditions in recent days are encouraging migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Migrant flows to Italy continue despite the Italian government’s strong efforts to discourage immigration. On Friday, another boat carrying 58 migrants reached the southern Italian island of Lampedusa off the coast of Africa.
Maltese authorities say they have rescued 216 migrants aboard two dinghies in distress in the Mediterranean Sea near Malta.
The migrants were rescued Friday night by the Armed Forces of Malta and are being taken to Malta where they will be examined by doctors and given the chance to seek asylum.
The Times of Malta newspaper reports that men, women and children were aboard the rubber boats. Maltese officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday morning.
Maltese officials say good weather prompted at least 12 migrant boats to cross the Mediterranean in the past two days. They say the boats left from Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.
Some 390 other migrants had arrived this year in Malta, according to the International Organization for Migration, an agency that tracks migrants. The agency says 1,445 migrants arrived in Malta last year.
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