VALLETTA: The Maltese military has rescued almost 13,400 migrants over the past 10 years, Interior Minister Manuel Mallia told parliament on Wednesday.
Mallia said the Armed Forces of Malta carried out 954 rescue operations over this period of time.
The busiest year was 2008 when the AFM rescued 2,108 people rescued in 105 rescue operations.
The previous year was the busiest in terms of rescue operations, when 148 were carried out.
There was a lull in 2010 when the AFM carried out 26 rescue operations and rescued 54 people.
But the figure climbed to 1,640 in 2011 -- at the height of the Arab Spring revolts in north Africa -- and again to 1,896 last year.
So far this year, the AFM has rescued 1,644 people in 88 rescue operations.
Malta has a population of 417,000 living in an area of just 316 square kilometres (122 square miles). It is 333 kilometres from Libya and 284 kilometres from Tunisia.
It is one of the most densely populated countries in the EU with 1,000 inhabitants per square kilometre.