About 1 300 refugees arrived in the island of Sicily on rescue ships over the weekend after crossing the Mediterranean.

Italy’s Coast Guard said that another 500 refugees were expected to arrive in the next couple of days, after being picked up from flimsy boats off the coast of Libya.

The Coast Guard said a 16-year-old boy died on one of the ships in Catania, on Sicily’s east coast.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there has been 487 refugee deaths in the Mediterranean as of March 2.

The figure is higher than the 425 during the first two months of last year.

Italy has been hit by a refugee crisis in recent years.

Official figures showed on Friday that the European country has seen refugees arriving by boat at a record-setting pace so far this year.

About half a million refugees have reached Italy since the start of 2014, with a record 181 000 arriving in 2016.

– Press TV