As many as 40 bodies have been discovered in a ship’s hold off the Libyan coast.
The dead, believed to be migrants attempting to travel from Libya to Europe, were discovered on Wednesday afternoon by Swedish ship Poseidon, working with the European Union’s Frontex border control agency.
Approximately 430 people were also rescued from the same ship, according to the Italian coast guard. They added it was the 10th rescue today.
It is the latest rescue amid increasingly desperate efforts by individuals fleeing war and national instability across countries such as Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
On Monday, the Italian coast guard claimed it had rescued more than 4,000 migrants from the seas off Libya. In total, more than 110,000 individuals have been rescued and brought to Italian ports this year.
Smugglers often take advantage of the over-stretched rescue forces by stuffing the unseaworthy vessels with more people than they can possibly hold.
The latest tragedy comes as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said as many as 2,000 people have died attempting the voyage from Libya this year alone.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content