According to survivors, 20 women and two children were among those who drowned when their boat capsized, IOM says.
A boat carrying migrants sank off Libya, leaving at least 57 people reportedly dead, a UN migration official said.
Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, said the ship left the western coastal city of Khums on Sunday. There were at least 75 people on board.
Eighteen people from the ship were rescued and returned to shore on Monday, Msehli said.
The survivors, who are from Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia, reported that the boat stopped due to an engine problem and then sank in bad weather, Msehli said.
“According to survivors brought to shore by fishermen and the coast guard, at least 20 women and two children were among those who drowned,” Msehli wrote on Twitter.
‼ ️ A shipwreck #Libya claims at least 57 lives today after a ship capsized near Khums.
According to survivors brought to shore by fishermen and the coast guard, at least 20 women and two children were among those who drowned. pic.twitter.com/QXqs1Oc7kx
– Safa Msehli (@msehlisafa) July 26, 2021
The capsize is the latest disaster in the Mediterranean Sea involving migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe.
Monday’s deaths came less than a week after some 20 people also drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, while 500 were intercepted and taken back to Libya.
There has been an increase in crossings and attempts to cross from Libya in recent months.
Almost 15,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been intercepted by the EU-backed Libyan coast guard in the first half of this year, which the United Nations says was more than those who disembarked in all of 2020.
Amnesty International has said that in the first six months of this year, more than 7,000 people intercepted at sea were returned to detention camps in Libya.
Libya has become an important transit route for people trying to reach Europe by boat since chaos broke out after the 2011 revolt that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.