The boat, which originated in Libya, had been drifting for four days and was taking on water when it made the distress call, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.
The SOS was made by satellite phone to an Eritrean journalist living in Sweden, who forwarded the information to the Habeshia refugee agency in Italy, which in turn passed it to the Italian coast guard authorities.
Everyone aboard the boat was in good heath, officials said.
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