ROME, Italy: Some 750 African migrants were heading to Italian ports on Saturday after being taken from ships on the Mediterranean Sea.
One group was to be disembarked at a Sicilian port with 236 people, while Italian coast guard and border police brought 532 others to a small Italian island.
A rescue group called SOS Mediterranee said a ship it operates removed the migrants four days ago from two rubber dinghies.
Italian authorities ordered the rescue ship to Augusta, Sicily with its passengers, who it said included 119 unaccompanied minors.
On Italy's island of Lampedusa, which is closer to North Africa than to the Italian mainland, Mayor Salvatore Martello said migrants from four boats were brought ashore by Italian coast guard and customs police boats.
The number of boats heading to Italy often increases in the spring because of the warmer weather.
Both Italian and Maltese governments have charged that NGOs rescuing migrants at sea are, in fact, assisting traffickers.