The bodies of 23 people were recovered from the Mediterranean on Friday after the dinghy they were travelling in sank, the EU's anti-migrant task force said.
EU Navfor Med said 64 others were rescued after their inflatable vessel began taking on water.
‘A tough day in the Central Mediterranean Sea where, once again, the different actors at sea and over the air, no matter the uniforms, aims and capabilities, have demonstrated their commitment in safeguarding human life at sea,’ the force said on its Facebook page.
It said a total of 263 people had been rescued, including 146 ‘migrants in distress’ saved by a Spanish ship as part of the European Union's anti-trafficking force.
According to Italy's interior ministry, more than 111,000 people have reached the country by sea in the first 10 months of 2017, a 30 per cent decrease from the previous year.
The International Migration Organisation says 150,000 have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean and 2,826 people have died while attempting the crossing.
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