The Italian coastguard reported it rescued 1,850 refugees from the sea off the Sicilian coast on 11 April, as calmer weather encourages more migrants to try to make the perilous journey from North Africa to Italy. Eight separate rescue operations took place to pluck the migrants from dinghies and overcrowded boats as they headed towards the coast.

In the second year of its worst migration crisis since World War Two, Europe has seen more than 1.2m people arrive since the beginning of 2015, most of them from Africa and the Middle East. Italy's coastguard has continued to pick up migrants in trouble in the stretch of water between its southern coast and North Africa, although most people seeking a better life in Europe have taken less dangerous and shorter routes from Turkey to Greece.

Libya has been in turmoil, and smuggling networks that send migrants across the Mediterranean towards Europe are deeply embedded there. The EU has already warned that Libya could be the source of a new escalation of Europe's migration crisis.