In the last 24 hours the Italian navy has rescued more than 1,000 migrants trying to reach Europe in overcrowded boats.
Bad weather and rough sea conditions usually discourage migrants from taking the perilous trip from North Africa during the winter.
But so far this year, five boats, carrying migrants from Mali, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia, have been intercepted.
Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports from Palermo.
Source: Al Jazeera