Migrants feared lost at sea off Libya

Tripoli - A Libyan coastguard official said on Friday a boat carrying 170 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was feared lost at sea off the capital Tripoli.

"We are looking for 170 African passengers on a wooden boat that has foundered off the Guarakouzi area about 60km east of Tripoli, said coastguard official Abdellatif Mohammed Ibrahim.

"We found the remains of a wooden boat which had had some 200 migrants on board a few kilometres off the coast," he said.

"We managed to save 16 people and recovered 15 bodies, but the search continues for some 170 people who disappeared at sea."

He said the coastguard was lacking in resources and had only one patrol boat to search for the missing people.

Tunisian fishermen on Thursday rescued 75 migrants who had been drifting at sea for five days after leaving Libya aboard an inflatable in an attempt to reach Italy.