Italy's coast guard said on Saturday it had picked up at sea 1,348 migrants in 11 rescue operations between Sicily and North Africa, bringing the total number of people saved over the past three days to more than 3,000.

Two thousand people were rescued on Thursday when the coast guard coordinated operations involving migrants traveling on 15 different boats.

Italy is on the front line of Europe's immigration crisis, which is now in its third year. Almost 50,000 migrants have come ashore in Italy this year, about 10 percent less than the same period last year, according to the Interior Ministry.