Valletta - The Maltese military on Wednesday rescued 75 migrants from a boat stranded in rough seas, as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat urged Europe to take action to manage the growing influx of refugees.
A tanker was the first on the scene but its crew said they could not haul the migrants on board, forcing an intervention by the Maltese armed forces, sources close to the military told AFP.
The boat issued an SOS call because it risked capsizing in strong winds and high waves. The migrants are now being taken back to Malta.
Hundreds of asylum-seekers have drowned in twin tragedies this month - the first on 3 October near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the second on 11 October between Lampedusa and Malta.
Muscat meanwhile called on the European Union to "translate words into action", following promises of greater assistance with asylum-seekers.
A summit of EU leaders in Brussels next week is expected to discuss the refugee issue.