World Bulletin/News Desk
A further 364 migrants were rescued by navy and coastguard vessels after the fishing boat capsized on Sunday evening, the latest in a series of similar shipwrecks.
Two days earlier, another boat carrying migrants sank near the Libyan coast leaving around 250 feared drowned.
Droves of people, many fleeing war in Syria and military conscription in Eritrea, have attempted the perilous passage this year, pushing the number of seaborne arrivals in Italy to a record of more than 100,000.
Despite calmer summer seas, the rickety boats departing North Africa, where a breakdown of order in Libya has been exploited by traffickers, often run into difficulty. The navy said on Monday it had rescued almost 4,000 migrants over the weekend.
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday it believed 1,889 migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean this year, of which 1,600 since the start of June.
The record numbers of arrivals are straining the resources of Italy's coastguard and navy, which last October launched its "Mare Nostrum" or "Our Sea" search and rescue mission after a shipwreck which killed 366 people near the Italian coast.
The mission has many political opponents in Italy but authorities say is has saved tens of thousands of lives. It involves Italian vessels patrolling the Mediterranean looking for boats in distress and bringing the migrants to shore.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has called for the European Union to address the crisis by beefing up the resources of Frontex, the EU's border control agency. He has also called on the United Nations to secure the border of Libya, from where the vast majority of boats depart for Europe.