Officials said 107 men and 16 women were aboard the boat rescued Monday about 145 miles southwest of Lampedusa, and were being taken to the Sicilian port of Augusta aboard the merchant ship, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The Italian coast guard told the merchant ship to move to troubled boat after authorities received calls for help from migrants. The nature of the distress was not reported.
Italian authorities rescued more 1,000 people at sea from Saturday to Monday after migrant crossings from North Africa resumed following a period of bad weather, ANSA said.
Tens of thousands of migrants arrive in Italy from North Africa annually while many others die attempting the crossing.