Italy is stepping up sea and air patrols following the deaths of hundreds of migrants sailing in overcrowded boats from North Africa. Prime Minister Enrico Letta said an "air and naval package" would start on today, south of Sicily. On Friday at least 33 persons died when their boat capsized between Malta and the Italian island of Lampedusa. A week earlier, more than 350 migrants died in another shipwreck off the same Italian island. Italy has previously called for EU help in dealing with the thousands of desperate migrants who wash up on its beaches every year. Many are families fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East who hope for a better life in Europe. But the recent loss of life has led to further calls for EU action.