ROME (Reuters) - About 2,200 migrants were plucked to safety in the central Mediterranean in 21 rescue missions on Monday and 16 bodies were recovered, the Italian Coast Guard said.

A statement said Coast Guard ships as well as fishing boats, merchant ships and vessels from humanitarian organizations took part in the separate operations under direction of the Coast Guard command in Rome.

The central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy is a highly perilous one for migrants. More than 3,100 people have gone missing or died this year while trying to use this route to reach Europe by boat, the International Organization for Migration estimates.

Monday's missions rescued migrants trying to reach Europe on 18 rubber boats and three small crafts, the statement said.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Richard Balmforth)