Spanish authorities have rescued 569 migrants whose boats were attempting to cross from North Africa to Europe.
Some 449 people were picked up from 20 dinghies in the Mediterranean, and 129 people from a wooden raft heading from West Africa to the Canary Islands.
The rescues took place on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Libya said its coastguards pulled the bodies of five migrants from the sea and picked up 185 survivors off its western coast.
Fine weather in the area has resulted in a sudden rise in the number of people attempting to cross from North Africa to Europe.
A softer stance on migration by the Spanish government, compared with authorities in Italy which have been clamping down on the movement of people, may have also encouraged some to cross near Spain.
Italy reiterated on Saturday that its ports are closed to foreign-flagged rescue ships as German charity vessel Lifeline remains off the coast of Malta with more than 230 migrants on board.
Malta – which has also refused to take in Lifeline – says it has sent in humanitarian supplies.
On Facebook, Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini wrote: “These boats can forget about reaching Italy, I want to stop the business of trafficking and mafia.”
It was not clear whether a Maersk container vessel, which picked up 113 migrants from a boat off southern Italy, would be allowed to dock. It is currently south of Sicily awaiting instructions.
European Union leaders will try on Sunday to find common ground for tackling migrants arriving on Europe’s shores.
The leaders of 16 of the 28 EU nations will meet for “informal talks” ahead of a full EU summit next week where migration will top the agenda.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he favours financial sanctions for EU countries that refuse to accept migrants with proven asylum status.
Migration has rocketed up the European political agenda again in the last few weeks after a new right-wing Italian government was established and German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced challenges at home to her pro-immigration stance.
Sky News understands that the Maltese coastguard assisted in evacuating one person in distress from the Lifeline and also provided supplies for the vessel.
However the Maltese government will not at the moment allow the vessel to dock at a Maltese port.
Maltese sources told Sky News that the authorities there did not at the moment consider the Lifeline to be a “vessel in distress”.
The Maltese are requesting, as they did with the Aquarius two weeks ago, that the Lifeline head to an Italian port.
Malta has declined to allow migrant rescue ships to dock at its ports for several years now. As a tiny island nation it argues that it couldn’t cope with the numbers.
Lifeline, which is registered in the Netherlands and run by a German charity, is near Maltese waters and has carried out a rescue coordinated by the Italians – so four countries have a potential role in resolving the situation. It is also allows each county to pass the buck of responsibility.
Sky News has also been told that there are discussions between Malta, Spain, France and Italy to each take a share of those on the vessel.
This is significant because it represents a form of redistribution which has been discussed at EU level and will be discussed again tomorrow’s emergency meeting in Brussels.
Most of those rescued in the Mediterranean are from sub-Saharan Africa. Traffickers facilitate their journey to Libya from where they board dinghies in an attempt to get to Europe. None of the dinghies are seaworthy.
Once rescued, the migrants cannot be returned to Libya because it is unsafe. Most experience torture and imprisonment by traffickers and war lords inside Libya.
Tunisia, to the west of Libya, is a safe country but does not cooperate in allowing the charity vessels to dock there.
To date, all rescues in the central Mediterranean are coordinated by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome.
The anti-migrant stance of the new Italian government has now complicated the role of the MRCC.
The arguments in central Europe are raging about what should be done with the migrants who successful cross into the continent.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Saturday his country would reintroduce controls on its border with Italy if Germany were to turn back migrants at its border to Austria and he expected a chain reaction across other countries.
Several central European countries said they would boycott Sunday’s Brussels meeting and Mrs Merkel on Friday played down expectations of a breakthrough.
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