Cyprus authorities late on Monday and early on Tuesday rescued hundreds of migrants who had left Lebanon and were stranded at sea in two separate incidents, officials said.

Authorities scrambled air and sea assets to a region 110 nautical miles (203 kilometres) west of the eastern Mediterranean island on Monday evening after reports a vessel carrying more than 300 people was in difficulty.

Commercial vessels were also mobilised and the passengers were safely transferred to a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel sailing in the area, Cyprus's Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said in a statement.

Hours later, a second vessel was located in distress south of Cyprus, carrying 177 people.

"The vessel was taking in water and they requested assistance," JRCC Deputy Commander Andreas Zacharia said. The migrants were safely escorted to shore, he added. (Reporting by Michele Kambas Editing by Mark Heinrich)