Eight migrants were found dead and two were missing from a ship rescued by the Italian coast guard off the coast of the southern island of Lampedusa, a prosecutor said on Friday.
Around 40 migrants were rescued on the same vessel and were taken to the main port on Lampedusa, which lies to the south of Sicily, news agency ANSA said
Italian authorities escorted another three stricken vessels carrying 156 people to Lampedusa, one of the main entry points for people trying to reach Europe.
Italy is facing a surge in arrivals from North Africa.
Some 105,140 migrants reached Italy by sea in 2022, interior ministry data showed, compared with 67,477 in 2021 and 34,154 in 2020.
The United Nations estimates that almost 1,400 migrants died while trying to cross the central Mediterranean in 2022.