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On board Italian migrant patrol ship ITS Etna

16 June 2014 Last updated at 17:40 BST

When 366 people died off the Italian island of Lampedusa last October as the boat carrying them sank, Italy decided to deploy its maritime forces to prevent more deaths.

They called the operation Mare Nostrum - Our Sea.

Matthew Price reports from aboard one of the ships involved in the patrol, the ITS Etna.

Read more: Inside Europe Blog