The Italian coastguard is carrying out two large-scale operations to rescue around 1,200 migrants from overcrowded boats off the coast of Sicily.
About 800 people are travelling on one of the fishing boats, while around 400 are on another.
The country’s coastguard has already rescued around 2,000 people in other operations since Friday.
German non-profit ResQship said At least two people died during the weekend’s boat crossings.
Migrant arrivals to Italy have risen steeply compared with the same period last year, despite efforts by the right-wing coalition government to clamp down on irregular migration.