Nearly 100 migrants were feared missing after their boat sank off the Libyan coast near Tripoli on Thursday, a coastguard official said.
23 migrants were rescued from the craft off Gargaresh, a western suburb of Tripoli, Coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.
According to survivors, the inflatable boat had set off with about 120 people on board.
“Some 97 are still missing, including 15 women and children. What happened is that the base of the boat got wrecked and the boat had sunk,” Qassem told media.
More than 150,000 people have made the crossing from Libya to Italy in every year for the past three years.
According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM) , 4,812 people have died on the Mediterranean in 2016. The deathtoll in 2015 is 1,200 less than 2016. Almost 7,189 migrants and refugees around the world have died in 2016.
An average of 20 refugees died each day while seeking asylum in foreign countries. The complex nature of refugee crisis made it difficult for organisation or government to keep an accurate count of the dead and missing.